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

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Summer is wrapping up in the next few weeks and Back to School time is soon follow. The Trader Joe's Back to School Fearless Flyer should be out by mid to late August, so we have that to look forward to as well!

What Trader Joe's items have you tried recently and liked, and which ones were not quite as good? Would you rate them with a Yay/Meh/or Nay?

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  1. YAY: Speculoos Cookies - okay, so when I first tried them I thought what is so special about these cookies? I had heard rave reviews but was kind of lukewarm about them in the first couple of bites. All of a sudden I realized that the whole box of cookies was gone in like two days. The addictiveness of these (mostly from the crunch and the subtle flavor of the cinnamon sugar in them) crept up on me and I can't wait to buy another box. They're even better with a cup of tea/coffee...I definitely recommend that you try them.

    8 Replies
    1. re: littleflower

      Dorie Greenspan has this recipe where you saute chunks of chicken breast in butter and then sauce it with a container of creme fraiche with a few speculoos cookies crumbled in. Sounds weird, but it's DELICIOUS.

      ETA: Here's the recipe if you're interested:
      http://leitesculinaria.com/61007/reci...

      1. re: Savour

        I have never tried creme fraiche but there's always a first time for everything - and count me in for any recipe involving crumbled Speculoos cookies!! Thanks Savour for the suggestion - will have to make this sometime.

        1. re: littleflower

          Creme fraiche is so wonderful, you need to try it even if this recipe isn't your thing. TJ's actually carries it at a good price.

        2. re: Savour

          Not so strange - sauerbraten gravy includes crumbled gingersnaps, which is probably where DG got the idea.

          1. re: Savour

            Dorie also has a recipe for speculoos themselves (around my french table)

          2. re: littleflower

            Try using the speculoos to make an ice cream sandwich with the coffee ice cream!

            And if you like the speculoos, also try the speculoo spread in a jar. It makes a nice ice cream topping.

            1. re: RussTheRaccoon

              Speculoos Cookie ice cream sandwiches with coffee ice cream?! What a great idea AND I have TJ's Coffee and Cream Bars in my freezer (I'll slice it down to size)...must try this!!! I will report back later.

              1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                You were definitely right on this one - my new favorite go-to snack is a dollop of coffee ice cream in between two Speculoos cookies...thanks for the idea RTR.

            2. Lamb vindaloo from TJ's freezer is what I keep on hand for quick 'n easy brainless dinners.

              Cheese enchiladas are another dinner standby.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Sharuf

                Chicken Tikka Masala is a staple in our freezer...cheaper than Take Out Indian and super convenient.

                1. re: littleflower

                  Another vote for the frozen Chicken Tikka Masala (but not the fridge version): Better than some we've had in restaurants.

                  1. re: littleflower

                    I'll back that and also put in a Yay for the frozen Palak Paneer.

                    http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...

                    1. re: Bob W

                      I had the frozen Chana masala yesterday - big YAY for convenience, but I probably wouldn't buy them again unless I needed the convenience factor, as I can definitely do better myself. The chickpeas were a bit hard/dry/mealy and the sauce wasn't spicy enough for my taste (though that is easily fixed). I'm trying the Palak Paneer for lunch!

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        BIG YAY for the Palak Paneer. Better than most I've had in restaurants.

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          YES! If like the indian veg items better than the meat overall - the bharta is pretty good too and there have been other items...

                2. Yea - Vegetable Melange with Seasoned Butter Sauce. Mainly petite peas and julienne carrots plus corn, tiny cauliflower florets, maybe something else. The veg are perfectly cooked, just heat and serve, the carrot is tender and the peas pop in your mouth. The butter adds a little flavor but doesn't overwhelm the veg.

                  1. Yay: bite size everything crackers are back. Tastes like a good everything bagel; excellent with whipped cream cheese.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ohmyyum

                      Love these, so glad they're back. Its great with the TJ's French triple cream brie too.

                      1. re: breadwinner

                        What is your location, please? I so love those crackers, and have missed them. SoCal here.

                        1. re: nikkihwood

                          NorCal, actually, SF to be specific. Hope you find them!

                          1. re: nikkihwood

                            new york just got them also ~YAY~ so they must be coming back everywheres:)

                        2. re: ohmyyum

                          Total YAY for the bite-size everything crackers. Some of the best crackers we've ever had.

                        3. YAY: TJ's Coastal Zinfandel 2012 ($4.50)
                          A little bit of background: Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles, CA makes all the Coastal wines for TJ's. Absolutely excellent winery, and a great place to visit. The lady helping us with the tasting said that the Coastal wines use the same CCOF organic grapes as their reserve wines but the process is different, so they're not officially labeled as organic.

                          They had a Merlot and a Cabernet at my store as well, but I got the zin. It's wonderful! Although I had to let it aerate a bit, it is more than drinkable. It has warm, very fruity notes with a light and pleasant tartness. It makes for a wonderful nightcap. Not as complex as the wines I tasted at Castoro, but its body is mostly well rounded and certainly not flat (unlike an unfortunate bottle of Ravenswood zin I had recently).

                          I'm an amateur wine drinker, so please take my assessment with a grain of salt.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: breadwinner

                            thanks for the tip. i think yours is the first wine review, and i'm anxious to see more!

                            the vouvray we had a couple of days ago was very pleasant, and a good price for everyday. sorry no further info for you.

                            anyone had a bone dry rosé there?

                            1. re: alkapal

                              The JP Quinson is pretty dry. Definitely French style rather than California style.

                              1. re: Savour

                                Yes, I stock up on this whenever I can find it (they seem to run out frequently). I much prefer this drier Provence style of rose'. And you can't beat the price - $5.99! (It used to be $4.99, though.)

                                1. re: goodeatsgal

                                  Ooh, sounds intriguing. Thanks for the heads up!

                              2. re: alkapal

                                I usually try buying a different wine everytime I go to TJ's if my wallet allows me. I'll keep updating if I find some winners (or duds). This is the first wine I've found that's been memorable to me so far.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  The red lambrusco (a sparkling, sweet, chilled red) has been a big hit at our pizza nights (I built a wood-fired oven in our backyard, and we like to entertain). It is darn tasty, but I'm more of a crisp, dry, white wine kind of gal. I quite like the TJ's Chilean Reserve Chardonnay for $3.99. Great for entertaining on a budget!

                              3. A big YAY for the Thomchord Grapes! Thanks to all the rave reviews I gave them a try. Great flavor and sweetness.

                                MEH to the veggie wrap with hummus in the fresh/prepared section. It smelled up my lunch bag so much that I was worried it had gone off, but I think it was just the fragrant pickled radish. The filling tasted like tangy mush. The upside was that it filled me up for hours while being relatively healthy/low in calories.

                                1. A huge YAY for the Saturn Peaches mentioned on last month's thread. They are so delicious. I found them at the Westbury, NY TJ's, which, BTW, also had the Hobo bread that some of you were looking for.

                                  1. HUGE YAY: Organic Strawberry Lemonade (shelf stable - on the juice aisle) - this has now barely edged out TJ's Villa Italia Blood Orange Soda as my favorite juice/drink that you can buy there. It's tart and sweet in a perfect balanced combination, and I love how it is not at all overly sugary sweet in taste like some lemonades can be.

                                    Ever tried those pricey strawberry lemonade drinks that they serve in the restaurants? Save your money and buy a bottle of this instead - serve it on ice and to fancy it up a bit you can even rim the top of your glass with sugar. Definitely try the Organic Strawberry Lemonade if you are a lemonade fan!!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: littleflower

                                      I'll vouch for this, though I miss the small liter of strawberry lemonade in the refrigerated section. It tasted fresher. Haven't seen it in months.

                                      1. re: breadwinner

                                        Yes I very much agree with you...a good fresh strawberry lemonade would beat out the strawberry lemonade they I tried, but for a shelf stable beverage this one is pretty top notice in my opnion.

                                        1. re: littleflower

                                          Definitely! It's a staple at my house until we get the refrigerated one back.

                                          Actually, one of my favorite diners makes a wonderful strawberry lemonade that's basically only pureed strawberries with lemon juice. No extra liquid. It's slightly thick and soo delectable. I think it'd be a good experiment to make at home with the last of the summer strawberries.

                                    2. Yay? Cherry preserves are back in season. I saw an employee who was shopping with several in her cart. I'd never managed to try them before they go out of stock, so I grabbed a jar. Super sweet (perhaps a bit too sweet) but with nice huge chunks of cherries! Would be great over a cheesecake.

                                      26 Replies
                                      1. re: ohmyyum

                                        ay, indeed. thanks for the heads-up. i've been checking every few days with no luck. where are you located? thanks!

                                        1. re: chez cherie

                                          East Coast-- NC. I upgrade to a full yay. It was fantastic with plain Greek yogurt.

                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                            Where is this located (what aisle/what else is near it) at your TJ's?

                                            1. re: littleflower

                                              It was next to the rest of the jams/jellies/preserves. In fact, since it was next to the raspberry and strawberry preserves, I would have overlooked it completely it if I hadn't overheard an employee excitedly talking about it and stocking up! It was not on the new item shelf, perhaps because it isn't so much a new item as it is a seasonal one.

                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                they usually have it year-round, but there was a crop shortfall last year, so the stock dwindled a few months ago. new crop is in now. big chunks of cherries--i often combine it with something spicy (chipotle puree or sriracha) and something boozy (zinfandel) to make a pan sauce for pork tloin.

                                                 
                                                1. re: chez cherie

                                                  My store has been open since October and they hadn't had it at all. Before they opened, I'd only been able to stop in at Trader Joe's when I had cause to be in Charlotte, which is about an hour's drive away. I guess I just never made it there when they had it.

                                                  And that sauce sounds fantastic!

                                                  1. re: chez cherie

                                                    Great with a good runny cheese too!

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                    1. re: chez cherie

                                                      Thanks ohmyyum for the info. on the location of where to find them in the store and to chez cherie for the great picture so that we know what to look for!

                                            2. re: ohmyyum

                                              I didn't know they were seasonal, and my local TJ's didn't run out of stock.

                                              Now I see from chez cherie what the story was.

                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                I looked in vain for the cherry preserves since last November, and was told by a clerk there that the reason for the unavailability was a poor crop.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  must be made from Michigan cherries, last year was dreadful for our tree fruit because of 80 degree heat in March and then a hard freeze

                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                    Last year they had to bring in cherries from Washington to Michigan for the cherry festival in Traverse City, the crop was basically wiped out completely. The price of dried cherries almost doubled.

                                                    Another Yay! for the cherry preserves. Just got some today for the first time (because of this thread, thanks!). It was well-stocked.

                                                    Made some scones to try it with and it is quite good, maybe a little on the sweet side. Nice ingredient list, like homemade, made in Canada. Lots of whole cherries in a thick jelly rather than mashed fruit.

                                                    It will be wonderful with pancakes, french toast, etc. I'm glad I got two jars!

                                                    1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                      Ah, this must be why cherries are expensive this year. I remember a few years back when I gorged on cherries all summer, at under a dollar a pound almost all the time. This year $3 to $4 a pound is on the low end.

                                              2. re: ohmyyum

                                                Woohoo! Great suggestion, ohmyyum...just tried a jar of the Cherry Preserves and it was fantastic over a scoop of ice cream!! Looking forward to seeing what else I use it on.

                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                  Oh that is a great idea. I am out of chocolate ice cream but will pick some up! Maybe even warmed up in the microwave first. . .

                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                    That's what I did (warm it up a bit first)...freakin' delicious.

                                                2. re: ohmyyum

                                                  are you talking about the morello cherries?

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    No, it is cherry preserves in the tallish jar on the shelf with the jellies and jams and honey and peanut butter.

                                                    The label is a little sneaky: it says in big letters "FRESH CHERRIES" then on a little banner above that in much smaller letters it says "Cherry preserves made with".

                                                    There are other varieties in the same jar with similar labels like strawberry and raspberry.

                                                    I think Hero brand from Switzerland has better cherry preserves but Trader Joe's preserves cost half as much--or at least the jar is twice as big for about the same price.

                                                    The jars of morello cherries have had good comments on previous threads but I've never tried them.

                                                    1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                      The Raspberry Jam is very good. My personal favorite raspberry jam.

                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                        Better than homemade, IMO.

                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                          I love the blackberry jam, too -- but my store doesn't seem to stock it anymore.

                                                        2. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                          I'm going to have to try the jarred morellos. I recently baked a pie from morellos that I'd frozen and it was one of the best pies I've eaten. Wondering if the jarred morellos would be an adequate substitute or if I should search for frozen morellos from a Russian market.

                                                          1. re: emily

                                                            If memory serves, Cooks Illustrated recommended the jarred morellos for pie some years ago.

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              Jarred morellos are perfect for black forest cake if you mix a bit of kirsch in.

                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                The jarred morellos are delicious in cocktails. We add them to Bourbon Manhattans!

                                                      2. re: ohmyyum

                                                        The cherry preserves are great mixed into some plain yogurt.

                                                      3. YAY--Unsweetened Green and White Tea--Light and simple, no sugar but tastes lightly sweet

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                          Similar to those bottles of unsweetened blueberry/pomegranate tea, or what? I'm always looking for sugarless teas in bottle form.

                                                          1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                            I like it much MUCH better than the unsweetened blueberry tea. It is sugarless and in a giant (non-glass) jug. I think it was $2.99, but that might be a dollar-off.--Double-thumbs up, if you are looking for something light and tea-based.

                                                          2. re: GraceW

                                                            I have not had good experiences with bottled teas in the past...I think it's mostly because of the citric acid that a lot of them contain which interferes too much with the subtle taste of tea. Based on your review Grace...it seems like TJ's may have actually created a decent bottle tea without that citric acid aftertaste.

                                                          3. noticed a small jar of ghee for $2.99 -- a good price. haven't tried it yet.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              a good price, indeed...wonder if it tastes like a quality product.....please do let us know what you think of this one

                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                It is good. I've used it and thought it performed quite well, I cooked at a pretty high temp and it didn't smoke and tasted very clean.

                                                            2. YAY for the TJ's dark chocolate bar with caramel and black sea salt. I didn't realize it was filled with liquid caramel when I bought it, but it is delicious anyway.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                Big, huge, GIANT YAY on that one.

                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                  i am a big nay on that one: i took one bite and almost gagged. i had no idea it was going to ooze out caramel. i gave the whole bar away - don't think i've ever done that before. i probably would have been ok with it if i had figured out it was liquid before i ate it. also the salt finish was too salty for me. so, it was definitely a textural thing for me.

                                                                  1. re: rmarisco

                                                                    I agree with the NAY. For me it was wayyy too salty.

                                                              2. YAY for the kale and broccoli slaw salad with chicken, red onion, sunflower seeds, and a creamy spiced dressing. The combination didn't sound appetizing, but after two coworkers kept raving about this salad I decided to give it a try. It is now my most-purchased prepared salad at TJ. This salad is a jaw workout -- not for those who are averse to roughage -- but hearty and satisfying. And the flavor combination is strangely addicting. Not low in fat or calories thanks to the dressing, but I find that I don't need the full container of dressing to adequately coat the ingredients. $3.99

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: chinchi

                                                                  This salad is surprisingly good.

                                                                2. Nay on the Inner Peas snack. I thought they were going to be real baked peas. Instead they were like peas ground to a powder with rice then re-hydrated then dehydrated....ew. They taste gross. My garbage will now find "inner peas".

                                                                  1. Moderate YAY on the chicken salad with currants and almonds. It's a little too sweet for my taste, and needs a bit of salt. It could also use more almonds. However, for pre-made chicken salad, it's not half bad!

                                                                    1. MEH:

                                                                      Sutter's Formula cookies - a strange name for a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. I wanted to love these because I am a pb fiend, and these cookies did have a nice chewy texture, but the overly sweet milk chocolate chips took away from the pb taste. So too sweet and not pb-enough for me.

                                                                      Chile rellenos - these were tasty, and my issue w/ them was more cooking related than anything else. Half the microwave tray held one chile that came out steaming hot and full of melty-cheesy goodness (even burnt-on cheese in the corners), while the other chile was stuffed with a lump of barely warm, completely unmelted cheese. I never have a problem w/ my microwave heating unevenly, so I don't really know what caused this.

                                                                      Cheddar horseradish chips - I loved the spice level on these chips, but the powdered-cheese flavor just tastes fake to me. I wish they'd just make horseradish chips and I'd be a happy camper.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                        Your description of those PB choc. chip cookies is pretty spot on. Personally, I liked these because they were not too heavy in peanut butter taste nor did they overly taste like rich chocolate.

                                                                        1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                          TJ's explanation of the name doesn't really explain the name:

                                                                          "March 18, 2013—Fearlessly Archived—Still a fun read, price & availability may have changed.

                                                                          Named for the American general on whose land gold was first discovered in northern California, Trader Joe's Sutter's Formula Cookies are among our best selling and longest running cookies. They're that good. While you won't find any actual gold in them, you do find precious beans: peanut and cacao. They are crumbly-chewy, freshly-baked peanut butter cookies, liberally studded with big nuggets of milk chocolate. They're as rich as their name suggests, but you don't need to be to enjoy them. Each 16 ounce bag is $4.49*, every day.

                                                                          *Ounces, price and availability may vary by region. Currently Trader Joe's Sutter's Formula Cookies are $3.99 in our East Coast stores, and $4.49 in our West Coast stores. Trader Joe's Sutter’s Formula Cookies are not available in our Midwest and Southeast stores, though a similar product for $3.99 is available: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies."

                                                                          1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                            yes, russ, i agree. was sutter a big peanut butter fan? a peanut farmer? a cocoa importer? he discovered gold. so the cookies are supposed to be as valuable as gold. i don't think so.

                                                                            i wasn't happy enough to buy them again, because they lacked a good peanut butter-forward flavor like i want in a PB cookie.

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              I haven't tried them. I would eat a peanut butter cookie if that's all that were available but would prefer just a regular chocolate chip cookie.

                                                                        2. YAY:
                                                                          organic mini peanut butter sandwich crackers, which I ate for lunch this past week (being the responsible adult that I am)
                                                                          bite size everything crackers – everything bagels in cracker form
                                                                          champagne grapes – almost too sweet
                                                                          lattemiele – basic/plain cookie. not too much going on here, but that can be a good thing with e.g. ice cream. the ridges are nice.
                                                                          whole wheat french toast – I curl my lip at frozen simple items (smuckers uncrustables, I'm looking at you) so this was a blow to my pride, but it's great for fast mornings when I'm not in the mood for cereal.
                                                                          emmenthaler cheese – they sampled this on a sesame bagel with some kind of spread, maybe red pepper. wow.
                                                                          herbs & spices popcorn – quite difficult to stop eating once the bag's open. I'd buy it more often if I could.

                                                                          MEH: crispy jeju mandarin orange slices – the texture was definitely interesting. by the time I finished the bag, I still hadn't decided whether I liked them.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: rynnyb

                                                                            Agree completely with the Organic Mini PB crackers as well as the French Toast recommendations...they have long been favorites here.

                                                                          2. Meh/Nay Meatless Breakfast Patties. TJ's has been selling MorningStar Farms Original Sausage Patties for years, a regular part of my breakfast, but the last few weeks they haven't been available and this substitute has.

                                                                            The MorningStar patties really do taste like breakfast sausage, they have the seasoning just right. The TJ product's flavor is slightly off in an unattractive way, and while the box contains 7 patties compared with MorningStar's 6, TJ's net weight is about 6% less. I haven't yet asked if TJ's will be carrying both, but I'm afraid they won't.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                              John Francis, Costco sells the Morningstar breakfast patties, and at a great price!

                                                                              Looking at the frozen vegetarian options, it looks like several products are being discontinued and reappearing private-labeled. I just tried the TJs pizza burger and it was pretty good; better, IMO than the Morningstar version.

                                                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                Thanks for the information.

                                                                                MorningStar's vegetarian sausage links are still in TJ's breakfast chill chest, so maybe the patties will come back. I hope so.

                                                                                Of course I can get them elsewhere, but not as conveniently and not at TJ's price. Here in New York City, cooking mainly for myself, CostCo is no use to me - I don't buy food in wholesale quantities and don't need to pay $55 membership for the dubious privilege.

                                                                            2. Yay (to me) - Cold brew coffee concentrate, used it to make ice coffee. I don't recal trying cold brew before, so can't really compare it to home made cold brew or other brands of concentrate.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: gnomatic

                                                                                I'm pretty YAY on this one too, after seeing it mentioned here. Our hot-coffee-in-the-morning consumption has plummeted due to shifting tastes and seasonality, and I haven't felt like brewing some just to water it down for iced coffee (and I am a big waterer-downer for iced) in the afternoon. I'm pretty pleased with the flavor - to my palate, it's reasonably smooth. I mixed it 1:4 concentrate to water, versus the 1:2 ratio suggested, and it's pretty tasty. I've not previously tried a concentrate, nor have I cold-brewed, but this has been a pretty palatable intro.

                                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                  I thought this one was a MEH, compared to the Secret Squirrel cold coffee concentrate I purchased a few months ago, which was a smoother, tastier brew.

                                                                                2. re: gnomatic

                                                                                  I'm a yay too, although like gnomatic, I've never purchased coffee concentrate before. It's simple to make in the morning before work and I think it's pretty smooth.

                                                                                3. Their Mesquite Smoked Almonds are laced with crack or something. If you like the blue can smokehouse almonds at Costco, these are much better.

                                                                                  Also I'll bring it up once again that their Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies are amazing. Great with ice cream or just plain out of the box. Probably my favorite item ever from Trader Joe's.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Bunson

                                                                                    agree on the smoked almonds: can't keep them in the house anymore! great big YAY!

                                                                                    1. re: Bunson

                                                                                      If you like the Smoked Almonds, try the Wasabi Almonds. Equally crack enhanced.

                                                                                    2. YAY for the package of three types of Spanish charcuterie - there's a salsichon, a jamon and a chorizo in the pack. All good, although the chorizo could be spicier. Not cheap at $4.99 for 6 oz., but not terrible.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                        Sounds exactly like the one available at Fresh N Easy but at around $6.

                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                          This sounds like it'd work well with the tapas cheese sampler package. 3 kinds of spanish cheeses and they're really good.

                                                                                        2. Hey all...I posted this over on the TJ's Discontinued Product thread but thought it was worth mentioning here as well. For those of us who are missing the TJ's Highbrow chocolate chip cookies, if you have a Fresh Market near you they have Tate's choc. chip cookies on sale this month. They are the exact same cookie as the Highbrow from what I hear, and are a dollar off (only $3.99 instead of the regular price of $4.99) until August 27th.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                            Thanks for the tip, littleflower! You may also want to check out the "crispie" cookies in the fresh bakery section at Fresh Market. Super thin and crisp with a nice butteriness. Comes in several different flavors, including chocolate chip, brownie, Heath, and salted caramel. I think a box of 12 thin cookies is usually priced at $4.99. So good!

                                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                              I think I have tasted a sample of those Crispie cookies at one of Fresh Market's holiday tastings days - do you have a favorite(s) flavor that you can recommend?

                                                                                          2. MEH: Bite Size Everything Crackers - I know, I am probably the only person who didn't fall in love with these crackers, but I thought they lacked the "everything" flavor that I am accustomed to with TJ's Everything Bagel Chips. They are decent enough but will not be going back for another box next time (more for all of you who really like them!)

                                                                                            YAY/NAY: Old Fashioned Donut O's (bakery section)- these are powdered sugar covered donut holes that are made with sour cream and whole wheat. To me, they tasted like they had cornmeal in them and I didn't even want to finish off one donut hole. Maybe I ate them thinking the flavor was going to be more like a traditional powdered donut hole and that is why I was disappointed. I talked to my brother however and he really liked them for precisely the reason I didn't...that they weren't as sweet as regular donut holes. Anyone else tried these that can comment?

                                                                                            1. The chimichurri rice in the frozen section is the most disgusting thing I have ever had from TJs.

                                                                                              Nay on the orange chicken too... don't know why so many people like this.

                                                                                              Yay on the seafood blend... we like to make paella with it, along with their Soy Chorizo. Quick and easy.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: veee

                                                                                                My thinking based on some of the reviews here is that perhaps they aren't making the Mandarin Orange Chicken up to the same quality that they used to. I recently (within the past six months) tried it and was not blown away by it like I have heard others have been in the past.

                                                                                                Just out of curiosity (I haven't tried it yet) what is it about the chimichurri rice do you not like?

                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                  I can't pinpoint one thing that made the chimichurri rice terrible... the texture was off... the tomatoes were soggy. The flavor combination just didn't fit my tastes...

                                                                                                  1. re: veee

                                                                                                    Oh yeah, now I remember...the bag I got had loads of barely pink tomato pieces. I had to look at the ingredients to identify them as tomato.

                                                                                              2. Yay for the soyrizo! Used it for soyrizo potato tacos for our taco bar and it was a huge hit. I'm nowhere near vegan and I thought the filling was fantastic. Spicy, flavorful, and yes, meaty!

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                  The soyrizo is better than real chorizo, no gristly bits. The plastic tubing is silly, though, I wish they just put it in a pouch or tub.

                                                                                                  Try it in a Spanish tortilla/omelette with the mixed bell peppers, onions, corn. and cheese--yummy!

                                                                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                    Aside from the corn, that sounds like our taco filling! The leftovers are at my sister's house; I should forward the suggestion of mixing with some eggs.

                                                                                                  2. re: Violatp

                                                                                                    Yesss, the soyrizo! We buy tons of it and keep it in the freezer. Not even vegan either. It's wonderful with eggs, and I've even added it to tomato cream pasta sauce.

                                                                                                  3. Yay, because all "Trader Joe" brand name items GMO FREE! (tho I THINK they are still selling some items that MAY contain GMOs in them (GE foods) but the products they have CONTROL over, GMO free. Other brands, unless "certified Organic"... who knows?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Kacer

                                                                                                      I do know for sure that Morningstar products use GMOs. I contacted them a few years ago and they confirmed. Too bad, because their vegetarian bacon is the best availalbe, imo.

                                                                                                    2. Cheese! The selection rivals Whole Foods. I especially love the aged Gouda and Syrah-soaked cheddar.

                                                                                                      1. I know others have mentioned this on previous threads, too lazy to go back and check their ratings... But mine is a fat YAY for the Cowboy Caviar. TJ's other corn salsa is too sweet for me, but this was perfect, with just enough kick. I finished it solo in about three days with their veggie flaxseed tortilla chips.

                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                          Thanks for the tip. I was mulling over the cowboy caviar, but the corn salsa was such a NAY for me that I was afraid I'd have the same sweetness issues with the cowboy caviar. I'll have to put that on my list for next trip. I have a nasty little subjective question for you or anyone else who has had both the corn salsa and the Cowboy Caviar: if the corn salsa is a "10" on a one-to-ten sweetness scale, where would you place the Cowboy Caviar?

                                                                                                          1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                            Maybe a 6/7? It's definitely more sweet than not, but not cloyingly so like the corn salsa. It's also got a nice bit of heat. I like it paired with the quinoa black bean chips.

                                                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                              Thank you; I think that would be worth a try, as I float pretty easily in the sweet-savory boat. Which is why I though the corn salsa would be good, but that one just crossed way too far over the line for me. A shame; it sounds and looks pretty enticing. I'll give the Cowboy Caviar a whirl!

                                                                                                              Those quinoa black bean chips? I refuse to even say out loud how delicious they are, for fear of dooming them to "Discontinued" status <grin> Unequivocal YAY.

                                                                                                              1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                the cowboy caviar disappeared within a few days, mostly eaten on its own but also once or twice on breakfast tacos. much agreed on the quinoa black bean chips.

                                                                                                            2. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                              I would say 5-6. And I also like it with the quinoa chips. But I like it with the veggie flaxseed chips a teensy bit more ;-)

                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                Ooh, I like those sweetness numbers even better!

                                                                                                                And thanks, alkapal, for that recipe for when we need more volume; it sounds delicious. I've never used black-eyed peas in such an application before, but now it's on my radar!

                                                                                                              2. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                I have to report back that, alas, the Cowboy Caviar is a NAY for me. Thanks to those who shouldered the request to give me an idea of the sweetness, but I think my sweet-o-meter is calibrated lower than most. Sweet was indeed the stumbling block for me on this one - it had a jammy quality that for me was not what I was looking for. I can make the stuff easily, but sometimes want a small quantity to pull out ad hoc. This one didn't make it. I think I'll repurpose it as an add-in to refried beans for quesadillas or some similar way to stretch the sweetness. I did like the level of heat, and I think it will work well as a plopped-in ingredient for something else in the genre of Texy-Mexy things.

                                                                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                  Bummer, I'm sorry you didn't like it! It's certainly not as sweet as the corn salsa, but still quite sweet. Maybe you can cut it with another salsa you enjoy to temper the sweetness level?

                                                                                                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                    Sorry it wasn't your thing, but thank you for the term "sweet-o-meter". I will add it to my coinage bank, along with today's other new term "mumbly-mouth" from one of my sixth-graders to describe his tendency to forget to enunciate :-)

                                                                                                                2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                  i always wince a little when someone posts in a reply a suggestion to make a dish rather than buy it (because often it is something very specific that the person is seeking). that being said <beat, beat> i am going to suggest, very friendly-like, that one can make a cowboy caviar that is 1. dead easy, and 2. a much better value.

                                                                                                                  1 small bag frozen black eyed peas, cooked till just tender, cooled and drained
                                                                                                                  1 container fresh chopped pico de gallo-type salsa
                                                                                                                  pinches of:
                                                                                                                  cumin
                                                                                                                  chile powder
                                                                                                                  salt
                                                                                                                  splash of rice wine or red wine or cider vinegar, or better, fresh lime juice plus a little vinegar
                                                                                                                  splash of hot sauce ( i like the chili & garlic version from cholula)
                                                                                                                  splash of olive oil (i usually omit the oil).
                                                                                                                  1 minced bunch of cilantro.
                                                                                                                  (if you want: i sliced green onion and/or red, yellow or green bell peppers, small chop).

                                                                                                                  mix together.
                                                                                                                  the "fresh flavor" will make you swoon. it'll also have a very lovely texture with the peppers.

                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                  then again, it may be all about the convenience for many people, and that is A-OK with me. i was just thinking of an alternative if one has the time and inclination.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    Thanks, looks great!

                                                                                                                3. NAY -- pita. bought it on sunday, went to use some yesterday and it had mold spots on every danged one! grrr, i should learn my lesson!

                                                                                                                  but i will take them back.

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    I've noticed that about their pita as well. I made the mistake a few times. Now I just go to the middle eastern market and freeze what I don't use.

                                                                                                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                      The bread products generally don't have preservatives and therefore mold faster. I've found that it's not a problem in the winter, but in summertime I have to throw things in the fridge if I'm not going to use it in a few days.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                        Interesting. I only really buy their European bread, that seems to keep for a while in the fridge.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                          I find that holds true for some of the supermarket breads too.
                                                                                                                          Some but not all of the whole wheat breads seem to last well.
                                                                                                                          But I think the main factor is probably temperature change and resultant condensation. In summer, chilly store, hot car, groceries not necessarily put away immediately upon return home. In winter, cold car, warm house. Sometimes a slight mist of condensation is even visible inside the plastic. If I see that, I refrigerate or freeze immediately.

                                                                                                                      2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        Yes, definitely take them back! We learned the hard way with TJ's breads that if they are used up almost instantly, they will begin to mold.

                                                                                                                        My rule of thumb: Look for latest sell by date, and I will only leave it out for one day at the most after I have bought it before putting it in the refrigerator. There is no taste in difference (to me anyways) after putting them in the refrigerator, and they will easily last for 2-3 weeks this way.

                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                          I'd say it depends. The British muffins can get moldy in a few days, but it's never happened for me with my usual sandwich bread, the honey bran country bread, which keeps the best part of a week in the bread box.

                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                            I keep my British muffins in the freezer, then take one out the night before so it's thawed for breakfast.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                              Sourdough bread also resists mold.

                                                                                                                            2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                              You are so right about the sell by date. We have learned the hard way to check it on the british muffins and dig around for one that lasts more than a day or two. I have complained at TJ's in Cambridge MA about expired fresh veggies and they always bring a newer one but the ones on the shelf are still being sold. I'm not willing to get into it with them so have just smiled and said thank-you to the stock person.

                                                                                                                          2. A BIG YAY to Trader Joe's Super Spinach Salad! Eating this three times a week for my evening meal helped me to lose 120 pounds during the past two years.

                                                                                                                            A LITTLE YAY to their Pupernickel Pretzel Sticks. These satisfy my cravings for something salty and crunchy and have not wrecked my diet.

                                                                                                                            PP

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                              Re: Spinach Salad .. (I did not remember it was "Super") I was in TJ and wanted to try "your" salad. There were 2 so chose the one that was spinach, pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese. I thought the blue cheese was way too strong tasting.
                                                                                                                              The other spinach salad has boiled egg slices and bacon pieces.

                                                                                                                              Which salad do you buy?

                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                Hello,

                                                                                                                                I am looking at a container right now. The front label says: "Trader Joe's Super Spinach Salad." It then goes on to list the ingredients as "Quinoa, Carrots, Cranberries, Chickpeas, Edamame, Pumpkin Seeds, and a Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing." Hope this helps.

                                                                                                                                PP

                                                                                                                                1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                  Yes. The guy stocking the salads said there were only 2 spinach ones; I'll look for this one next time I'm there.

                                                                                                                                  I just called TJ and I guess I was misinformed because they do have this other salad in stock; the mgr said it's her favorite.

                                                                                                                            2. Just when I was starting to think it was an urban snack myth...

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                You'll be lucky if that bag lasts a whole day!

                                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                  I bought 10. Let's see if they last the week!

                                                                                                                                  I have a brilliant idea. If I buy in bulk, then Trader Joes will notice that they are disappearing quickly, and will always reorder!!!

                                                                                                                                2. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                  The spouse and I bought six last week. We're down to one.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JulesNoctambule

                                                                                                                                    I introduced these to some friends tonight - everyone thought they were a little strange, yet somehow, an hour later, the bag was gone. Addictive little buggers.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I bought some tonight and had to try them as soon as I got home. First one: eh. It's ok. Not juicy, not even all that soft, but it tastes ok I guess. I'll have one more and put 'em away.

                                                                                                                                      One more led to another led to another...until eventually "Whoa, these are dangerous! I've got to make myself stop before I eat the whole bag!"

                                                                                                                                      I can see how a bag would disappear pretty quickly; they are indeed addictive. I was prepared to find them "too sweet" like a lot of others around here but as long as I think of them as dessert rather than "healthy fruit snack" I think they're a pretty good balance of sweet/tart.

                                                                                                                                      Now I wish I'd bought more than one bag....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                        Interesting, there was nothing tart about the ones in my bag. Just like super-sweet candy. I still have half a bag sitting at home, I'll probably just toss them.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frosty Melon

                                                                                                                                          I'm with you Frosty Melon. Mine weren't tart at all. Just really, really sweet. I can see how a bag with more tart pieces would be addicting.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Briek

                                                                                                                                            I find the larger pieces have more tart-ness. The smaller ones have less "filling", and therefor the sugar is more prevalent.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                              There's a new "trek mix" that includes the soft and juicy mandarins - Tropical something or other. It has the mandarins, candied pineapple, dried mango, and pieces of those coconut strips. It's pretty tasty, but it's also candy.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                Sounds lovely, now to wait for the Delaware store to get it, weeks/months from now . . .

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                  Tropical Tendency. I can't imagine hiking with it, but for a sweet after-dinner mouthful, it's pretty good.

                                                                                                                                3. I know the Hobo Bread was mentioned last month, but a YAY from me. I don't think I've ever eaten date bread so I can't compare and, frankly, I don't care for raisins much, but this was really good. Lightly sweet and very moist.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                    i have yet to get the hobo bread, but i used to make mini date-nut loaves when i was in high school. the slices were so delicious spread with plain cream cheese!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                      I know -- the first bag did last about a day. Two weeks after their reported arrival in the Bay Area, still no mandarins here in Vegas, so I sent my B.A. resident daughter to score 3 bags for me, and 3 for her. When I called to reserve them at the store, the guy more-or-less called me a lightweight, and said he was getting a case for himself. So I upped it to 5 & 5. A few days later the local store said they weren't getting them at all, and then they arrived the following day, and I got another 5. I think that's enough. Pic below shows what they look like dipped in melted Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                    2. yay for the regular whole milk in the plastic cartons. it is not labeled organic or anything, but is quite creamy and delicious! and at $1.99, at least 70¢ cheaper than a similar product at harris teeter.

                                                                                                                                      1. goat milk yogurt is good and thick -- tangy, too.

                                                                                                                                        1. Yay! Black Corinth or "Champagne" grapes, the little tiny seedless ones: sweet, tart, very grapey. Kids should love these.

                                                                                                                                          Meh. Local apricots from Geneva NY. Beautiful but not much flavor and the texture tends towards mealy.

                                                                                                                                          Yay! Grape tomatoes. Good flavor and texture. A couple of rotten ones and some white mold appeared quickly, however.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                            My girls (and I) love it when the "baby grapes" appear at TJs in August! I can't abide the texture of regular grapes when frozen--a little too much tooth for me--but the champagne grapes are marvelous straight from the freezer. We enjoy them fresh in season, and always freeze a few cartons for later enjoyment.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                              Oooh great idea! I'll have to try those frozen if they still have any. I have always liked the idea of frozen grapes but they hurt my teeth. The little ones shouldn't!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                Great idea. I'll have to give that a try with some that I got at Costco!

                                                                                                                                            2. Three Big Yay items I tried for the first time recently:

                                                                                                                                              -- Red Leicester Cheese. They were giving out samples, otherwise I'm sure I wouldn't have purchased it. Delicious and different. Very orange color, with lots of bits of red bell pepper and some chilies. Only very slightly spicy. Has an unusual but compelling texture and is very flavorful. This will be a repeat purchase so I hope they continue to have it. It only lasted a couple of days after I got the wedge home.

                                                                                                                                              -- Mixed berry Scone Mix. Raved about by some from last month's thread so I made them to go with Sunday brunch last week. Great stuff, and so easy to make - just add water to the mix. I ended up baking them a bit longer than the package directions to get them fully cooked on the inside, although I made them rather large.

                                                                                                                                              -- Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa. I love this! I couldn't stop eating it and before I knew it I had finished the whole package. Excellent flavor for a lower-fat type product. Tasty stuff, and you could do so many things with it.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dave B

                                                                                                                                                I like the kielbasa too - in fact I haven't had the real thing for a long time now, and don't miss it.

                                                                                                                                              2. Meh - Panko Breaded Tilapia Fillets. When prepared as instructed, the breading gets so hard that it can't be cut with a fork. Nothing wrong with the flavor, which of course is mainly the breading, but the texture is off.

                                                                                                                                                1. do any South Carolina BBQ connoisseurs want to pitch in on the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce? (or, has anyone tried it?)

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                    I had a sample of it. It was nice and tangy-- you can definitely taste the mustard-- but quite sweet. I did not purchase, but may in the future.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                      I ended up getting it – fully agreed on the sweetness. not bad as a veggie dip, though.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                        Our Crew really liked this sauce with the Organic Corn Dippers. Tasty!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                                                                                                                          Huge thumbs up here on the Organic Corn Dippers. They remind me of Fritos but healthier and tastier. I don't even have to dip these corn chips in anything - they are great by themselves.

                                                                                                                                                  2. TJ's has quite a few frozen breaded fish products, and I've been trying them out. The tilapia rated a "Meh" in another message. Here:

                                                                                                                                                    Yea - Oven Ready Breaded Cod Fillets. Much of the flavor is in the breading but I can taste the cod through it - very nice. Texture is right.

                                                                                                                                                    Yea - Battered Fish Nuggets. Made with Alaskan pollock instead of cod; the flavor is much the same, and the price is lower. Again, the taste and texture are fine.

                                                                                                                                                    Yea - Lightly Breaded Reduced Fat Fish Sticks. Who needs Mrs. Paul's?

                                                                                                                                                    None of these have a fishy flavor or odor, for those who are put off by that. None are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, as far as I know, so you wouldn't eat them for that reason. Just because they're good!

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                      I make fish tacos with those pollock nuggets.
                                                                                                                                                      Yay to those and the abuelita corn and wheat tortillas.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                        We use them for fish tacos, too. What else do you put on them?

                                                                                                                                                        We make a slaw of green cabbage and a sauce of equal parts mayo and plain yogurt seasoned with lime juice and chipotle powder.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I finally found the soft and juicy dried mandarins! I'll give them a YAY, because they are good, but VERY sweet-tart - like eating candy, rather than dried fruit. I like the texture, but I wish they were a smidge less sweet.

                                                                                                                                                      1. how is the rice bran oil for all round cooking?

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                          I've been really liking it. Doesn't have the "off" flavor that canola has (IMO) and has been good for frying.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                            It's great for popping popcorn! Really neutral flavor and can with stand a high BTU burner!

                                                                                                                                                            --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                        2. On the Home Cooking Board someone asked bout the shelf stable heavy cream. Is it back? I thought it had been discontinued for the season.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                            I saw it on the shelf last week in SoCal

                                                                                                                                                          2. NAY NAY NAY to their salmon cakes. They are incredibly and unappetizingly dense with a flavor of plastic to boot. And I had to stand behind a typical Trader Joe's indecisive shopper for about 10 minutes just to get them out of the case.

                                                                                                                                                            I am not a Trader Joe's fan, but just needed to get something for dinner and some tortillas so thought I'd just pop in. Everytime I do so, I regret it.

                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                              Not sure exactly which product this is. If it's the Premium Salmon Burgers, I like them very much - the flavor isn't plastic but savory, and I have a 4-pack in the freezer right now!

                                                                                                                                                              http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                We like the salmon burgers too, and the mahi-mahi burgers as well. Also the turkey burgers and the chili-lime chicken burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                Who needs red meat!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                  Indeed, who needs meat at all? TJ's Vegetable Masala Burger is delicious in an Indian kind of way, and the right shape to be eaten in a hamburger bun if you like. I just heat and eat it as a side dish. Frozen, four to the box.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                    +1 for the turkey burgers - staple in my freezer

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                    No - those are burgers, and they are a frozen product. What I bought were salmon cakes, not frozen, from the regular meat/fish section. They were beyond vile.

                                                                                                                                                                    Frozen salmon burgers I can get from Smart and Final, along with frozen turkey burgers. Probably at half the price that you are paying. With an added bonus of not having to deal with the slanted aisles, bizarre customers and employees at Trader Joes.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                      There are no bizarre customers or employees at the Trader Joe's in Brooklyn where I buy much of my food. If anything, the employees are friendlier and more devoted to customer service than at any other food store I know. The customers are just plain folks from the neighborhood, and behave the same as at any other food store. "Slanted aisles"? What can you mean by that?

                                                                                                                                                                      TJ's Premium Salmon Burgers, which aren't just salmon but are well seasoned and savory, cost about $6 for a 12.8 oz box of four. What price do you pay for a truly comparable product?

                                                                                                                                                                      There are no stores named Smart & Final in my area, and I had never heard of them. Not surprising because they're a west coast outfit - appears to be a warehouse chain that sells national brands at a discount. Really not comparable with a retail chain that sells its own house-branded products, except perhaps that TJ's prices are low compared with retail chains that sell national brands.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                    10 minutes? That's an incredibly long time to stand behind someone in a store. Couldn't you just have said "excuse me"?

                                                                                                                                                                  4. Greetings:

                                                                                                                                                                    This one is going to be a Nay.

                                                                                                                                                                    Last week I bought a package of Trader Joe's Raw Almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                    They looked a little darker than usual. But I did not pay this any mind, as I had bought their raw almonds several times before. And I was always pleased with the ones I bought before.

                                                                                                                                                                    But not the ones I bought last week. They didn't even taste like almonds. I am not sure what they tasted like.

                                                                                                                                                                    They were obviously processed in some way. I checked the bag and noted that 1 gram of sugar was added for each serving.

                                                                                                                                                                    I went to Trader Joe's again this morning and saw the same type of raw almonds. Again, these were darker in color than the ones I bought before. Again, the label on the bag listed 1 gram of sugar per serving.

                                                                                                                                                                    I much prefer the pure unprocessed raw almonds that Trader Joe's used to sell. Fortunately, I found some at a local Harris Teeter.

                                                                                                                                                                    Why would Trader Joe's ruin their raw almonds like this?

                                                                                                                                                                    PP

                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                      All almonds have ~1 gram of sugar per oz (serving). It is not added. It sounds like TJ's is selling a bad batch, though.

                                                                                                                                                                      http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/sho...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the clarification about the sugar content. I don't know what it is, but something is not right with those raw almonds. I was surprised to see that they were still on the shelf this morning after I had bought a bag of them exactly one week ago.

                                                                                                                                                                        PP

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                          Definitely say something to an employee . . . If nothing else you should get your money back as almonds are not cheap, and if they get enough complaints they should report it to corporate.

                                                                                                                                                                          :o)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                        You're confusing the nutritional components with the ingredients. The only ingredient in the raw almonds is almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                        Each 28 g serving of the raw almonds contains 14 g fat, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugar, and 6 g protein. The sugar is naturally-occurring and is in the almonds when they come off the tree, not added later.

                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the clarification.

                                                                                                                                                                          Those almonds were so bad that I was surprised to see them still on the shelf one week later when I went back yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                          I go to Trader Joe's every Monday morning. If I still see them there next week, I am going to speak to the manager.

                                                                                                                                                                          PP

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                          I have found that one has to be very careful with raw nuts. I've gotten beautiful, fat raw almonds at TJ's and also awful shrunken disgusting mummified ones. Sometimes both in one bag!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillsofBeverly

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't like the taste of raw nuts except for pecans. They are better toasted or roasted.

                                                                                                                                                                            PontiusPalate, take those almonds back for a refund! Otherwise they won't know there's a problem and you will be a little aggravated every time you go down the nut aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillsofBeverly

                                                                                                                                                                              There are many other stores that sell raw almonds that you can see before you buy them. Why continue to purchase a potentially bad product at TJ's when you could see that you are getting a good product at another store.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                I did exactly that. I bought a package of raw almonds at my local Harris Teeter store a few days ago. They are excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                PP

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've probably eaten my weight in raw almonds from TJ's by now, and I've never had a problem. maybe you can take advantage of the transparent packaging next time; good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                  P.S. while we're on the subject of almonds, the marcona almonds (both salted with skin on and the rosemary variety) are more pricey, but fragrant and delectable.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                              UPDATE! I went back to Trader Joe's this morning. The darkly colored raw almonds were there. However, I noticed something I had missed before. The package specifically said "organic" raw almonds. There were also some packages of some other raw almonds, which were NOT labeled as "organic" in the shelf directly below the "organic" almonds. These non-organic almonds were in their normal and lighter color.

                                                                                                                                                                              I went up to the manager's station to discuss this issue with her and mentioned that I had bought a package of the "organic" a few weeks ago and found them to be unsatisfactory. I didn't press the issue of a refund, as I had no proof of purchase. In addition, I had thrown them out shortly after buying them. Instead, I focused upon the issue of the stark difference in the lighter and darker shades of the almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                              She hypothesized that the darker color of the "organic" almonds was caused by the different soil in which they were grown. But I could tell she was grasping in desperation for an explanation. She took my phone number and email address and told me she would email the company for an explanation.

                                                                                                                                                                              I will report back if and when I receive a reply. In the meantime, I am still finishing up the raw almonds I bought from Harris Teeter last week.

                                                                                                                                                                              PP

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                                                                                                                                                Probably just different varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                                http://ystradingcompany.com/pdf/Almon...

                                                                                                                                                                            3. YAY! Tofu edamame nuggets are finally back! More tofu than edamame. A tad greasy straight out of the oven; I just blot them with a paper towel. Nice flavor and texture.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                I like these and I'm glad they're back. The breading seems a little different now, doesn't it? I like the change but I'm not sure how to describe it.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. What happened to my beloved Lemon Chicken and Argula Salad??? There was no Israeli cous cous or red peppers in the mix... Just a bunch of arugula with a little bit of regular small cous cous and red quinoa. The dressing tasted sweeter than before, with out the acidic component..... An I don't taste the smoked papriika :-(. Did they change the formula for this?

                                                                                                                                                                                yay - BBQ pulled chicken ( fully cooked refrigerated, but generally with the raw meats). Sweet tangy BBQ sauce, not much smoke flavor for saying "smoked" chicken in the label, but still really good moist shredded chicken. Im thinking about making some sort of casserole using the chicken as a base, with a corn bread topping. It would be great just on a toasted bun with pickles too.

                                                                                                                                                                                Yay- I really liked the sample of cherry cider I got, sweet good real cherry flavor (not cough syrup flavor)

                                                                                                                                                                                Yay. Chipotle pepper hummus... Like a roasted red pepper flavor with a hint of smokey chipotle. Is not spicy hot at all, a child could eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Buffalo Burgers now at Trader Joe's!!! I do not eat beef but do eat buffalo/bison meat and am super excited that TJ's is now carrying again this kind of meat again. Has anyone happen to have taken a sample of it to verify taste/quality?

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

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. New to me. The sweet and juicy clementines. Dried segments, really really good. Like gummys for grownups

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I tried the honey roasted macadamia nuts this week, and just opened them. They were expensive (maybe $7 per bag?) and unfortunately they aren't that good. Just looked at the ingredients, and they contain no salt! So it's basically just sugar-covered nuts that taste sort of bland. It's a NAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. A friend brought these to our dressing room to share and I was way underwhelmed. The nuts themselves don't taste fresh, and they are SUPER bland with no salt. BIG NAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                          A shame...sounded like a "could have been" fantastic product. This may go without saying, but did either of you try adding your own salt to it just to see if the flavor improved?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                            I dipped one in some soy sauce at lunch. It was OK. I'm not sure how adding my own salt would really work, since they are coated in a candy-like shell. Salt sprinkled on would just fall off, and using any sort of liquid might ruin the crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you get really fine salt, like popcorn salt, it would probably manage to dust the nuts. A spray of oil first would also help...like from aerosolized oil can used to spray a baking sheet.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                That seems like a lot of effort to make a product taste good! Might b e easier just to take them back.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I brought a bunch of items to a mid-morning meeting, here it goes;

                                                                                                                                                                                        NAY-NAY-NEVER: Almonds covered in chocolate and salt--Way too salty. No one could touch more than 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Meh--Shortbread cookies with chocolate: people were fine with them, but I thought it was rather underwhelming, perhaps because I was expecting a butter-flavored cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                        YAY-Cinnamon rolls in the tube that you bake-These were the first things gone. They were pretty easy to make in the oven while I got dressed, but I took them out early. People asked if there were anymore... no. The only tricky part was the tube wouldn't pop open and when it did the buns stuck to the side, but I re-rolled them.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Meh/Nay--Soft Snickerdoodles: if you need to avoid certain allergens, then go for this. However, if you want a cookie for real, just don't bother. I wasn't tasting sweetness or cinnamon--I was just tasting molasses. I saw a few of them go into the garbage after people took a bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay/Meh--PB Cupcakes: too much for me, but if you have a crazy intense sweet-tooth and love chocolate then you will adore these.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay/meh--Gluten Free cupcakes--the frosting is way too sweet. You just feel an ice-pick of sugar stab your brain. The non-gluten people were fans though, probably because they "hadn't had a cupcake in years." (Who are these people? Don't they have birthdays?)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Meh/what?--Caramel Wafer cookies--I don't understand these cookies. They tasted like pancake syrup to me. One co-worker liked them.. so I just gave him the bag because I would not eat them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay--Donut O's--These still have the powdered sugar taste but also a strong whole-wheat taste. It seemed rather balanced compared to how I remember donuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                        NAY/Never: Dark chocolate bar with Black Sea Salt--way too salty.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Nay (me)/Meh (others): Dark chocolate coconut caramel--I hate coconut, but other people liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Never again: 0% Greek Vanilla Bean yogurt--this was supposed to be my breakfast, but it was drink-able. I have no idea how/why greek yogurt could be so non-solid, but it was disturbing, and I poured it down the drain.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Other non-breakfast items. I tried these personally, not for the meeting.
                                                                                                                                                                                        --Meh--Carolina BBQ Sauce--Too sweet for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                        --Meh--Horseradish chips--I love horseradish, and yet, I still thought it was too much horseradish so others might die a little.
                                                                                                                                                                                        --YAY still--Garlic Marinated Mushrooms in a jar--Still my #1 product.
                                                                                                                                                                                        --Yay--Raisin Crackers--Everyone loves them, but I had never had them, and yes, they were pretty good. (I think they would be good with a little lox, dill, and some type of strong cheese.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        --YAY still-Herb Popcorn-After having a bad experience with black-pepper Skinny Pop, I finally returned to the TJ Herb popcorn, and it was a good choice.
                                                                                                                                                                                        --Meh--Salmon Jerky-I eat a lot of fish so I can handle the fish-smell, but I doubt many could tolerate it. If you are a big fish-eater and you want a portable protein, it's ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also really like the cinnamon rolls. They're often hard to find...in my store, they're usually near the hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. I would never find them there--they are near the yogurt and eggs in my store. Maybe they are trying to keep them in-stock?

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Grace - excellent reviews. Agree especially with the PB cupcake review, I liked them but they were so rich (to me) that I could only eat half a cupcake at a time. Speaking of the lox recommendation on top of the Rosemary Raisin Crackers, I wonder if TJ's has any good lox available.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                              the smoked salmon pieces are decent (and only $3).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                I just picked up some of the $2.99 4oz smoked salmon pieces - very acceptable. What qualifies my YAY is the saltiness. For the record, I like salt a lot, and I'm pretty conversant in many salted and smoked fish preparations, but this one seems just a click too far up the saltiness scale to get full-on yayness. I compare it to the smoked Lax Kallrökt I like from IKEA, and TJs comes out on the short end of the stick, despite being comparable in price. Still, I'd buy it again and just know that it's saltier. Additionally, on the price front: at my regular TJs, the 8 oz packet is around $7.49; the 4 oz packet is $2.99, so the math works out favorably for the 4 ouncer per unit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okay, SOLD! Thanks for your review cayjohan - your post convinced me to give this a try very soon for a variety of reasons:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Don't judge, but I have always wanted to try (but never have) lox with cream cheese on a bagel. I live nowhere near NYC and yes I do realize that the experience will not be the same but I will take what I can get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) It's salty. I was looking for a smoked salmon that leans more towards salty than not-so-much. I salt just about everything even sweet items, so I believe I will appreciate the saltiness level here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3) The PRICE - $2.99 for a 4 oz packet is priced just right in order to try it out for the first time to see what I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Glad to help! :-) Your variety of reasons made me think of a few things:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Cream cheese is your friend with this smoked salmon. The salmon's salty enough to balance out the milky blandness of the cheese(and I like bland in this case). I've many times had smoked salmon that was overwhelmed by cream cheese. Think of that, for a moment...not a recommendation for the lox, right? I don't think you'd be displeased with this salmon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Like you, I lean toward the salty. Mmm. But I find I get more and more of my protein on a weekly basis from some variety of cured fish - a 4 ounce lunch portion is normal for me, but it gets "too much" after a couple ounces in on a saltier salmon than on a less-salty one. Great for apps, though...or with something milder to balance it. I still will keep on with the four ounce packs, since...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. The PRICE! And the four ounce packaging! My husband will eat hot-smoked fish (and my freezer is currently stocked with ridiculous amounts after a fish-buying vacation), but he hates cold-smoked. Having discrete small packets that I don't have to chase as another use-it-up item because I'm the only-one-that-eats-it is a plus for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I definitely recommend this on a value-for-the dollar scale!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      the price + 4-oz packaging is what convinced me to try it the first time. saltiness is just part of what I expect from smoked salmon, so I, a salt fiend, never had an issue with eating it plain. (I'm enjoying my youthful low blood pressure immensely.) it's also pretty great on whole wheat toast with avocado slices and maybe some alfalfa sprouts, imo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have not purchased their smoked salmon in a while but th elast time I did, they salmon was true pieces and pretty thick vs lox which is thin if not almost shaved in some instances. Considering this, I don't think it would be the best replacement for bagels with lox and cream cheese. But I could be thinking about a different package?

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                I emphatically disagree about the almonds with dark chocolate and sea salt, and the dark chocolate bar with sea salt. Neither is excessively salty, especially for a "chocolate with sea salt" product. I eat a lot of nuts and peanuts, always unsalted, and use little salt in my food, stay away from highly salty foods because for me a little salt goes a long way. Can't stand french fries that have been salted by the purveyor, always request mine unsalted, and add a little if they need any. In these chocolate products sea salt is part of the experience, and I don't find them at all excessive. I would vote for a better grade of dark chocolate, but the salt part of the experience is in balance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen several people who didn't like the horseradish chips. In my house they were a big hit. Not too much horseradish for my family. The only problem is that two people shouldn't be eating a big bag of chips in 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It might have been my fault because I like to open potato chips from the bottom.. so you get the really flavorful ones first (which was how I judged the bag). But I might be the only one in the world who opens it purposefully that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                      what a terrific idea. I suppose I need to get some chips to try it out :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Jeri L

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just opened a bag of the cheddar/horseradish chips at work, and they are a big hit. I really like them. Nice amount of horseradish kick, and I think the cheddar flavor is on par with other cheddar-flavored chips. A bit artificial, yes, but still pretty pleasing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That dark chocolate bar with carmel and coconut is my "crack". But if you don't like coconut, you wouldn't like it much. I have to stay far away from it though, I eat it in one fell swoop. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Oh my goodness, I never post in these threads but I lurk them like crazy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I must have missed the big huge NAY for the refrigerated fresh rice noodles. I cooked them as instructed - boiled water and cooked for 1.5-2 minutes. BAD MOVE. Holy cow they went from noodles to a disgusting mess of gloodles (get it, glue?). Spare yourself, stay far far away from this sticky gluey yucky disaster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry Trader Joe's, I love you but this one is a big fat loser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Erika RollerGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Welcome, Erika! You are not the only one who has big time NAY'ed those refrigerated fresh rice noodles. There has been more than one review on these threads saying essentially the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glad to hear that it seems as though you have found quite a few other TJ's items that you do like - please feel free to post anytime about any good or bad ones. The comments on these threads are such a tremendous help to those of us loyal TJ's fans!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Erika RollerGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I too tried the rice noodles and got a gloppy mess...I won't give up so I am trying again! This time just running hot water over them instead of dropping into boiling water. If that doesn't work, I will just buy dry rice noodles elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. YAY: Frozen Trio of Peppers - I normally am not a huge fan of bell peppers but actually really liked these. They are frozen strips of red, yellow, and green bell peppers with a good amount of flavor and crunch retained when sauteed (impressive for a frozen veggie). I will definitely purchase these again for my Italian dishes and chicken fajitas especially.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          These peppers along with sauteed garlic and onions accompanied my quick TJ's dinner of Turkey Meatballs sliced in half tossed in a sauce (thin - more like a gravy) consisting of a TJ's Organic Tomato Basil Marinara + quite a bit of TJ's sweet rose wine (can't remember exact name) + a little TJ's Low Sodium Chicken Broth. May sound like a strange mixture for a sauce but it all tastes SO good together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The wine that I used to cook with last night is Robertson Winery's Natural Sweet Red. If you like a sweet rose wine, this one is priced really reasonably ($4.99) and was a great recommendation by TJ's staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                              the peppers are a freezer "staple" here in our home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ditto. I use them for stratas, omelets and egg scrambles. Also keep the fire roasted peppers and onions on hand. Great with Italian sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. YAY: Smoked Rainbow Trout Fillets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spied these alongside the other refrigerated smoked fish offerings. Two large (farm-raised) smoked trout fillets for $6.99/pack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Used half a fillet in my salad today. Skin peeled off easily, some bones. Tasty and I anticipate repeat buys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I made a really nice smoked trout salad with those fillets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's a great price, and I love the smoked trout fillets in the can that TJ's sells so I will definitely have to check these out as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. a few more YAYs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -sour cream and onion corn puffs: the sour cream and onion taste of chips, but spread out over something light and airy so you don't feel as bad munching away. I opened them out of boredom while waiting for the traffic light. this was a mistake.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -chocolate sunflower drops: everything I like about peanut m&ms, but with a lower chocolate:shell ratio and more delicate. might be a pantry staple.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -frozen turkey corn dogs: for a minute I was transported back to the glorious golden age when I didn't know what calories were and ate corn dogs with abandon. has anyone tried the soy ones?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -cornbread mix: this is the sweeter variety of cornbread. doesn't beat the stuff made from scratch, but still pretty good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -green figs: soft and terrific

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NAY: old fashioned doughnut o's. I really wanted to like these because I love whole wheat, but mine were dry and kind of tasteless. even a couple shakes of cinnamon didn't do it for me. first time I've returned something to TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a couple items I'm curious about – the unsweetened/unsulfured apple rings, and the frozen shepherd's pie. any thoughts on these?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My family said NAY to the frozen shepherd's pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess it was too good to be true. thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. The shepherd's pie is as bad as the mac & cheese is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We like the apple rings. Sweet and perfectly chewy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like the frozen shepherd's pie, though it requires lots more time to get hot than the packaging specifies. (As usual for Trader Joe's cooking directions, I've found.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree about the Old Fashioned Donut O's - I had high hopes for that one too, but was not impressed with TJ's attempt at a whole wheat version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rynnyb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't like the cornbread mix. It tasted like vanilla cake to me. Jiffy is 1/3 the price and much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I grew up on Jiffy cornbread - our family used it every year to make cornbread and sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. I still choose to use Jiffy for Tgiving stuffing because a lot of the other cornbread mixes are just too sweet for stuffing purposes, but some of the ingredients I have to pretend I didn't see listed on the box. That is the one advantage that TJ's cornbread has - better ingredients list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I actually made the TJ's cornbread once and wound up frosting it. Indeed, it's cake, not cornbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yay! Thom-cord grapes are back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have finally conquered what seems to have been an August blind-spot for TJ's and procured the Thomcords. Yes, yes, yes-worthy YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Greetings:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I want to give a YAY to the Trader Joe's lunch I have just enjoyed. It consisted of a can of their Organic Vegetarian Chili and a slice of one of their breads with their Spicy Hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Although the chili contains more sodium than I should be eating at one meal, I love its flavor. In fact, it is my favorite canned chili. I also love their hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Meh - Bul Go Ki marinated beef short ribs in the refrigerated meats section. The pieces were all different sizes; some tiny, some huge. Many were very chewy or gristly. And the marinade just wasn't as good as I can make myself or get in a jar from the Asian grocery. For convenience alone it gets a yay, but for all of the above it got a nay, therefore equaling a meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They have a new item, Thai Dry Chili Paste. Comes in a small jar. I bought one because it sounded intriguing, but haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Meh - Center Cut Seasoned Uncured Bacon - no nitrites or nitrates added - no MSG - Except for nitrates naturally occurring in sea salt and celery juice powder. It's OK but kind of bland, I like a more intense bacon flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John have you tried TJ's Black Forest Bacon yet? I have heard some great reviews of it online - full of bacon flavor and sounds like you would like it as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't get too excited about the 'uncured bacon' description. Most of it is required by the USDA when you choose to use 'organic' sources of nitrates/ites like celery instead of the purified non-organic salts. As for the 'bacon flavor' that probably has to do with the amount of salt and sugar. I believe the 'black forest' has a caramel coating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I usually buy their 'ends and pieces' which are cheaper. Often it's quite meaty. It has sufficient bacon flavor for my taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm also a fan of the ends & pieces! perfect for stir-frying with kale. I've saved all the fatty bits; can't wait to render it into bacon fat for cornbread, biscuits, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Just in case some of you are not on TJ's email list, see below link - the new Fearless Flyer came out today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks! New sushi? Maybe they are trying to improve upon the current offering. Although I should know better than to hope it is good, but the Teriyaki Mushroom Quinoa Rolls look intriguing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A few products caught my eye that I haven't tried yet...the Whole Milk Yogurt cups 6-pk, Baker Josef's Bagels, Mini Pies, and The Best (Bar None) Ice Cream Bars. I haven't heard a lot of reviews on these items in the past, but I'd like to give some of these a try in the next few weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The new sushi - hope it's better than what they previously were carrying b/c I haven't heard very good reviews on the old ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The little pies and ice cream bars are delicious. Our Crew loved both of them. I wasn't brave enough to try the sushi, but other folks liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks...good to hear that the mini pies are tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I got that e-mail too, but it links to the JUNE edition. WTFF?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah that is strange, grey - did anyone else have this happen to them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Nay: dried tortellini with pesto filling. Very salty! I used them in my summer fresh raw tomato/basil/fresh mozzarella pasta and they made it too salty. It's a shame becuase I thought the pesto filing would really compliment the sauce flavors. Luckily I have plenty of tomatoes in my garden and can make it again next week with just regular pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The cheese filling is a good option, we use them in soup fairly often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Meh on the Just the Clusters Granola in Chocolate Almond flavor. It is very light and not dense but mostly oats, very chocolatey but too sweet for breakfast. It would probably make a nice topping for baked fruit or ice cream or a nice snack. More like candy than breakfast cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's great in plain yogurt. But I agree that it could be clumpier!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I mix it 50/50 with high-fiber All-Bran Buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The result is greater than the sum of the parts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My last trip and its takeaway (*= comment elsewhere in thread):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate *
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Smoked Salmon pieces, 4 oz.*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thomcord grapes*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TJ's Goat's Milk Dutch Cheese slices: love these. YAY. Enough goatiness and milkiness to make me happy, and I love getting that in a sliced cheese for convenience, since we often rely on cheese for convenience. I've been buying it for awhile, thought I'd mention it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NOT SURE YET -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I finally bought the TJ's Masala Simmer Sauce. I liked the flavor dipping into the jar. We'll see how it does with its intended purpose today: using up the metric ton of zucchini we've been dealing with. Intention is roasting the zukes and some peppers and onions, then in with the simmer sauce. Since I finally picked up some of the TJs frozen roasted corn, I figured we'd have that as a starch, on the side or as a base.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MEH-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We finally tried the plain old potato chips. Tasty for the most part, but I like most any plain old potato chip. The (admittedly minor) problem for me was textural: although they appealed in the light-and-crispy category, they failed for me in the graininess of the chip - almost akin to the potato-mulch texture of a Pringles, despite being cut from a whole potato. I'd buy them again if I needed them for something and I was at TJ's - they are really pretty consistently cut and cooked (dang, though...no luscious burnt chips!), but I'll likely stick with my preferred regional brand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NAY-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TJ's Smoked Salmon Dip with Capers: I really wanted to like this. But: no. Far too salty. Yes, I know it's smoked salmon and capers, but the surrounding dippishness does nothing to balance that saltiness, but rather heightens it. Off the list for a repeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. MEH on the Buffalo Jerky. Not flavorful enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still loving the Roasted Coconut Strips - need to buy 3 bags almost each time I go to TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One potential issue with the refrigerated kimchee - I bought a few bags (all with expiration dates of 9/25) because I know TJ's can have supply problems and those bags have now swollen up in the fridge. They look like they're ready to burst. Not sure if they've gone bad or it's just perfectly fine gas build up from the a still fermenting product...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure it's just fermenting. Smell first to be sure. I love this product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shoo bee doo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes more fermentation mellows it a bit. If the bag blows up, I'd open it a bit to release the air and close up again trying to make it airless. It still should not spoil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          uh oh, i'd better check the bag i put in the fridge (unopened to date) maybe six weeks ago! i don't need a kimchee bomb exploding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had such a bag in the back of my fridge, several months beyond the 'date'. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with it upon opening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. SMALL YAY: The Best (Bar None) Ice Cream Bars - let me preface this by admitting that I am much more a fan of milk chocolate than dark chocolate. I would have given it a huge yay had it been coated in milk chocolate, but that is just a personal preference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Having said that, if you are a fan of dark chocolate then run, do not walk to TJ's and pick yourself up a pack of these! The vanilla ice cream part alone is absolutely delicious, and after taking off three-fourths of the chocolate (the dark choc. just too rich for me) I happily gobbled it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would not hesistate to buy these again, if for nothing else than just the incredible vanilla ice cream part - it really is that good. Again, all you dark chocolate fans please do try it, you won't regret it, this really is "The Best (Bar None) Ice Cream Bar" out there (esp. at just .50 a bar - pack of four cost just 2.99 - a steal for this high quality ice cream bar!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              little flower, if there is a harris teeter near you, they have the magnum ice cream bars on sale AND dove ice cream bars buy one get one. those magnums have a lot of variety in chocolate and coating (belgian chocolate).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i haven't had the dove in a while, but i recall they used to be excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i found the TJ prices for ice cream and the like more expensive than the sales prices at the regular grocery stores i frequent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ooh, actually I do happen to have a Harris Teeter's near me - thanks alkapal for the suggestion. Although I thought the TJ's Bar None bars are of excellent quality, in reality I would be happier with an ice cream bar coated in belgian milk chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Come to think of it, TJ's Bar None ice cream bars look very much like the magnum ice cream bars (after looking at magnum's website and comparing) - I wouldn't be surprised if TJ's just repackaged the magnum dark chocolate ice cream bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i'd say most of the magnum line uses the milk chocolate. there may be two with dark chocolate. one is with white "chocolate." http://www.magnumicecream.com/products/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  surprisingly, i liked the mint version mr. alka got, as it tasted like a frozen grasshopper pie, and had little cunchy bits in the chcolate. the mint was very smooth. it was also like a frozen york peppermint patty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i had the mochaccino version, but i wanted more "mocha" flavor in the ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the double chocolate one is very chocolate-y -- the ice cream is lovely but the coating may be the dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  now, yet to try in the freezer, is the double caramel. vanilla ice cream, caramel dipped, then chocolate dipped. http://www.magnumicecream.com/Product...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Klondike Dark Chocolate bars are delicious, and frequently on sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Harris Teeter often has the six-packs two for $5 or $6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I prefer dark chocolate but found these ice cream bars to be a bit too rich for me. I like Klondike bars because they are stickless, so I can cut them in half and share them. These ice cream bars would be very difficult to share and a whole one is just too much for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since my Aug 22 post just above, I bought the TJ's bars to try, because I do love this kind of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I liked them, but found that the chocolate coating tends to break off too easily during the eating process. And the pieces are so large that they tend to fall off, which is not good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Also, I agree with AmyH's point that the Klondikes are easier to share. (Although I'm not always wanting to share........)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pugsam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I agree with pugsam about the big pieces of chocolate breaking off. I had to move from the sofa to the kitchen table to eat it and still ended up getting some chocolate on my shirt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yay - the mushroom and black truffle flatbread (frozen). Made a nice light supper for 2 of us. Very mushroomy flavor, but no big pieces. I would get it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. HUGE YAY: 6 Pk. Whole Milk Yogurt Cups, Banana and Cream Flavor (refrigerator section) - I am glad that I read the Fearless Flyer this month, otherwise I would never have tried these out. I got the 6 Pk. Cups containing 3 Strawberry and Cream as well as 3 Banana and Cream yogurts, and so far have tried the Banana and Cream kind which I LOVED.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reminded me very much of Banana Pudding but it was all creamy - no banana chunks here which I liked. Only thing is that I wished I had some Vanilla Wafers to crumble on top :-)! Oh, and each cup is a little smaller than most yogurt cups which was the perfect size for me. I will absolutely purchase these again on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The mango and peach flavors (if these are the ones I'm thinking about) are also great. If not at TJ's try Yo Baby - it's essentially the same thing. I like the pear flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are exactly right - they have it in 3 different combinations:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) Mango and Cream/Peaches and Cream (3 of each)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) Blueberries and Cream/Vanilla and Cream (3 of each)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) Strawberries and Cream/Bananas and Cream (3 of each)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only combination I probably would not purchase is the blueberries and cream one, since the flavor of blueberries is not that appealing to me (one exception being blueberry muffins! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Update: Tried the Stawberries and Cream - very good, but I like the Bananas and Cream flavor even better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The bananas and cream yogurt is one of my absolute favorite items at TJ's. I never get sick of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I bought the Korean Shortribs and Vegetable Fried Rice tonight. Not at all the sorts of things I usually buy, but desperate and tired...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The rice was sort of like unseasoned Uncle Ben's with frozen corn and peas, the shortribs were tough and salty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Back to homemade food...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The highlight of the meal were the steamed sugar snap peas that I threw at the meal at the last minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you referring to TJ's sugar snap peas in the bag? I have yet to try those...wondered how they tasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They were very fresh, and no strings to wrestle off!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are the only sugar snap peas I buy anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Great - thanks sandylc and Rilke...I will put them on my "to buy soon" list. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The new garlic cooking sauce that has wine as its first ingredient, YAH! I just wanted to get some bread, sop it up and eat it. Really nice on pasta. You must LOVE garlic as its really intense, but delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I saw that, so I didn't buy it because of the wine. I'm sure with all of the garlic flavor that you can't taste it, but I don't want to stress my liver for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. CANNED FRIED ONION Alert! These, in the green-topped cardboard canister, have always been a Nov/Dec seasonal item but either that's no longer true, or the Nashua TJ never sold out last year. I left 6 canisters - they are on the bottom shelf below the jarred spices and baking mixes. I use them year round, to top casseroles, instead of croutons, in omelets, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Grey, THANK YOU for letting us know...you're right they are usually only available around late October to mid December for the holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe this is a sign that TJ's is already starting to put out some of it's fall items (wishful thinking)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh no kidding, TJ's has them now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I first started seeing these in Jakarta, either in supermarkets or at nasgor (fried rice) street stalls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then in Manhattan, I noticed an advertisement for them on hot dog vendor umbrellas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now they've appeared in mainstream supermarkets in NY too. Totally something I'd hurl on a burger, shwarma or torta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jonathan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Greygarious, are they crumbly or more ring-formed like French's? I know I bought the TJ kind once and the jar seemed like it was all crumbles... which was not to my liking. Do you recall if they are mostly in rings or just crumbles?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Crumbles, mostly not longer than a half inch. I like the flavor better than French/Durkee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BMB Jonathan, fried onion bits are nothing new. American supermarkets and Asian markets have sold them for decades. But using them on hot dogs and burgers may be a new trend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I looked for those a couple of weeks ago (shortcut for making Mujadarrah) in Pasadena and no dice. The checkout guy told me the supplier only makes them around the holidays. Maybe Christmas is coming early this year?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Huge yay ~ Dark chocolate peanut butter cups....... oy vey. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But, I found a little package that the individual ones are wrapped in foil. Another yay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Big Nay.... BBQ chicken pizza... blech, blech, blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm going to take a guess and say that you don't like cilantro, that it tastes soapy to you, and that's why you don't like that pizza? If that's not it, I'd be interested to hear what you don't like about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a big part of why I didn't care for the BBQ pizza - that and the crust didn't crisp up like some of the others do at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember trying a sample of that pizza about two years ago and I liked it then...I did not recall the strong taste of cilantro nor having a problem with the crust. Wonder if they tweaked their recipe somewhat...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The crust was horrible Russ. Cardboard, totally flavorless and boring. The toppings weren't outstanding either, but would have been much better if the crust was palatable. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I usually make my own pizza, but was looking for a quick dinner Saturday night. The next time I'll do the Butter Chicken, which I absolutely love from TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. There are no seeds at all in the Thomcord grapes I bought. I think last year there was some disagreement on CH about whether or not they are seedless. The Fearless Flyer says "You may find a small, edible 'trace seed' , much like the white seeds in watermelon, but we promise these are free of actual grape seeds." It also says they are only available in August but this might mean that's when they are picked, because the TJ clerk said they'd be having them through early autumn. They continue to get a major YAY from me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are "trace seeds" in the Thomcords we bought yesterday, in Charlottesville, Va.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Still very tasty, though!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We've found them to be pretty free of seeds too. Marvelous grapes - just stocked up on more for a dessert plate for the in-laws coming up tomorrow. I've never been more than neutral about grapes, but these? Yes please! Glad to know that they might be lingering around past August;I've always missed them in the past. Yay, indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. MEH: Trader Joe's Sliced Prosciutto (deli section) - Four slices to a pack and the flavor is excellent - just enough saltiness to it and had a clean taste. The reason why it gets a meh is that the pack that I purchased contained slices that were a little too chewy for my taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I bought this tonight to wrap around TJ's green figs (still excellent as always and a mainstain YAY from me), and while the flavor balanced perfectly with the fig I found it was difficult to chew through some of the prosciutto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I find that ripe pears are excellent when wrapped with prosciutto. Way better than with melon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This isnt their german smoked "Prosciutto" is it? that is one of their great products we go back for repeatedly - it gets a YAY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's the TJ's brand, not the Stockmeyer or the Citterio, and I don't know if my pack just had pieces that contained a bit too much fat running through them or what - but found some parts of it hard to chew through. The taste was excellent though, so instead of outright naying it I had to give this particular pack a meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sadly not at TJ's but I bought a package of La Quercia prosciutto a month ago (Whole Foods)...amazing stuff and all other prosciutto pales next to it IMO. Of course it's about 2x the price of TJ's :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Coney I used to live within 20 min. away from a Whole Foods, and oh how I miss it now that the nearest one is just outside of comfortable driving distance (about an hour and a half). There are two things I miss about Whole Foods: their deli department where they freshly sliced antibiotic free meats and their meat department where I could select what cuts of bison meat I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the suggestion in case I ever do make the trek out there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          coney, if you love la quercia, you may go crazy for olli salumeria's prosciutto (and speck)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          enter your zip code to see where their products are sold near you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.olli.com/products/whole-c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thanks, alkapal. They show they are available very near me, although I don't remember seeing that brand before. Now I have a quest :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks alkapal for sharing that website with us - your olli prosciutto recommendation led me to realize that:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1) My local tiny deli/gourmet sandwich shop does sell olli products but only salami not prosciutto.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2) There is a store 30 min. away that carries a smoked pig's jowl that they are swearing by as being a substitute for unsmoked guanciale (need it for spaghetti alla carbonara).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3) I REALLY wish TJ's would start carrying guanciale in their stores. It is so difficult to live in an area that does not have a real gourmet deli/salumeria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I could order it online but the S&H charges are ridiculous. So...my search continues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the olli salamis (salame?) are terrific. i love the "molisana" version with garlic and pepper. actually, i have always loved every olli product i've tried -- and those are many!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. A big YAY for Kriemhild Meadow Butter, a delicious grass-fed cow butter from upstate New York. TJ’s sells it for $3.99 for an 8 oz. tub, 76 cents lest than it retails for elsewhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, bummer. I bet that's local only.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, I didn't think of that. I’m happy to see TJ's sourcing local specialty items. Maybe it’s worth asking about at your local store? Put a fresh creamery butter bug in their ears.:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: The farm sells the butter online. http://www.kriemhilddairy.com/meadow-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Which OLIVE OIL do you like at TJ;s?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't go to TJ's often - so want to make sure i get the right one. I use it for both salad dressings and sometimes baking sweet items (cake) - and a little bit on the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          California Estate, hands down!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have only tried one olive oil from TJ's (it was an Italian EVOO - cannot remember the exact name of it though) and thought it was too peppery/strong for my taste. I agree with Ina who says she prefers a fruity tasting olive oil over some of the more harsh/peppery kinds, and she swears by California olive oils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Having said that, for all of you who have tried the California Estate olive oil is this the least "peppery" and more fruity tasting of the TJ's selection?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try the Spanish one, maybe. I found it on the less peppery, more buttery side of the spectrum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Spanish one is also about 1/2 the price of the CA Estate olive oil. It's my basic olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The California Estate olive oil does have a bit of a peppery finish (which I happen to like).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Greek olive oil is my favorite so far, they were out of it last time so I got the Spanish one, which is a little more buttery and less green.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do prefer the Greek over the Spanish, but they're both very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like all of the TJ's olive oils I've tried, but even the cheapest extra virgin one is very good. I believe it's $6.49 (up from $5.49 a few months ago).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Definitely the Spanish one. Very "green" flavor and buttery. We hoard so many bottles of this stuff at home and I use it for almost everything requiring oil in cooking/eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. does TJ's sell maple syrup? if YES, do you like it? Is it a good price?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I love their Canadian "Producer of the Year" maple syrup. Been buying it for years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The TJ's Organic Maple Syrup, Grade B, is excellent. Around 7/8 bucks for a 12 ounce bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, and yes, definitely better than average price and quality. I'm a particular fan of the grade B (more intense maple flavor).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes to all three. The kind I buy from them is organic grade B, which I like best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I buy the grade B in the beige jug. I put it into a different container so I don't know what the label says.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Huge fan of Grade B. Haven't tried the Organic kind but the one in Beige jug is the staple in my pantry. Love the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I bought a Grade A maple syrup from TJ's awhile back and was not wowed by it. Based on all of the positive reviews on their Grade B syrup that sounds like a winner to go with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our store (SF Bay area) has grade B in both the plastic jug and in a glass "wine bottle". We prefer the wine bottle one...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. ??? - Moussaka. It's a nice dish but it isn't moussaka - more like shepherd's pie with some eggplant added. Mashed potatoes topped with panko bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese instead of béarnaise sauce on top, and a mix of cubed eggplant and chopped beef rather than layers of sliced eggplant and ground beef. Savory and substantial, but if you want moussaka you probably have to make your own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Not a new product, really -- but.... new to me:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  YAY for the fresh mozzarella ciliegine! Nice texture, good flavor, and works quite well in a caprese with cherry or grape tomatoes. Also, not as expensive as the real deal, the bufflo mozza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    which other cheeses do you like at TJ's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    we are from Canada - so i am premeditating my TJ binge shopping next month at a store in WA State.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (i have already asked you all about OLIVE OIL - and - MAPLE SYRUP - thx for replies above)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We don't eat a lot of cheese to keep our girlish figures '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, I LOVE the fresh buffalo mozzarella, the Greek-style feta in brine, the Canadian (?) double-cream brie, the camembert....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We get cheese when we have guests, and I get to indulge then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But the buffalo mozza, while not cheap (but cheaper than at other stores near me), is a pretty consistent guest in our fridge. 'specially now, with all the good maters coming out :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Red Leicester (already mentioned by someone here) - tried it.......has excellent flavor and depth, without being overpowering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There's two kinds I get that are super duper yummy... One is a yellow cheese with onions and chives, the other is a white cheese with caramelized onions. I can't remember the names. And people o nuts for the unexpected cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The second one you mentioned is TJ's English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion. If they ever discontinue it, I'll go berserk. The other one is available in many pther stores, under different names. It is a Double Gloucester with Onion and Chive. I have seen it in some supermarkets where they call it Abbeydale or Appledale or something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep, that's it!!! They are both sooooo good!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "ilchester" is a registered mark for the cheese you describe. http://www.dcicheeseco.com/ilchester/... -- if TJ's has it, i'm going to go get some pronto. it is also "cotswold" -- http://www.worldsfoods.com/shop/pc/Am...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Question for experts: does all double gloucester have blue mold? http://www.worldsfoods.com/shop/pc/Qu... ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cotswold is the name of the english cheddar with onion and chives that i adore.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                it makes a terrific grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love the Israeli feta, comes in a yellow and white plastic pkg, lasts a long time .. (I put it in a glass container w/lid).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also like their sliced mozzarella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Meh - Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese. Where's the cheese? The cover names cheddar, Swiss, havarti, and gouda, but except in the browned crust I couldn't taste it. Pleasant texture, pleasant taste, but it misses the point.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              this is the frozen package?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not sure whether it's frozen or refrigerated, but I believe it's frozen. Not the "reduced guilt" m&c.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, I thought mine was way way way way too cheesy. It got a bit better after resting for a bit, but my first impression was too much cheese. Maybe the machine accidentally put your allotment of cheese on mine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. I so wanted to love their vegetable broth, but I just do not like the flavor. Do they have only one kind? Do I need to shop somewhere else for vegie broth?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Qualified yay - the mint chocolate chip ice cream. It wasn't till I got a ways into the carton that I glanced at the nutritional info . . . wow. It's very good ice cream, but I didn't think it was a premium ice cream as the nutritional info would lead me to believe. Yikes, 320 calories and 18 grams of fat for half a cup!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I dunno, its flavor and mouthfeel seem pretty premium to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I enjoyed the large chunks of chocolate, I will give it that, and I appreciated that it didn't have that fake green color like all the other mint chocolate chip ice cream out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MEH:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Soft and juicy mandarins. I finally found these after stalking a couple of my closest TJs for months. I've eaten a few and it's been bugging me what they remind me of, and it finally came to me - fruit leather. Definitely not too sweet for me, but they had a weird aftertaste that I didn't particularly enjoy, and I guess I'm missing what the fuss is all about. Overall glad I tried them but won't be a repeat buy for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        eating the mandarins as I read this :) I love the little buggers, but I also love fruit leather, fruit gems, fruit roll ups, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heh. I love the mandarins, but don't care for fruit leathers, roll ups, or most dried fruit in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY--Trader Joe's Red Leicester with Chili and Red Bell Pepper--This was mentioned briefly above, and I typically do not enjoy cheese, but friends had some... and I actually finished it: it was good! So if a non-cheese person likes it, then I think it gets two thumbs-up.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      YAYs for English Cheddar w/Caramelized Onion, and Delice de Bourgogne; big NAY for the Red Leicester with Chili and Red Bell Pepper. It sounded like something I would really love, but to me it's so awful, it's going back. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We liked the Leicester. Got the cheddar and caramelized onion, but haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Got the teeny champagne grapes the other day plus some unsalted kerrygold butter and a two pak of pie crusts along with some strawberries and organic bananas and sugar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Today I made two little peach pies with local peaches and the TJs crusts and butter but I ran out of peaches on the second pie. It was only about one third of the way filled! My friend John is always rambling on about his grandmother's grape pie. It never occurred to me to put grapes in pie but somehow there were some uneaten grapes and I tossed them in the peach pie. Wow! I really liked my peach and champagne grape pie. Trying to wait until later to eat another piece but that pie is calling my name!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very creative - sounds delicious with the grapes mixed in! How do you like TJ's pie crusts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks little flower! I was kind of desperate and was hoping it would work out. If I didn't have the grapes I was considering the cherry preserves that I finally scored at my local TJs after coming home cherryless for several trips.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well about that crust, they don't always carry it this time of year but I really love it. When I saw it about two weeks ago or less my face must have looked like a Tex Avery cartoon. I swear my feet lifted a few inches above the ground for a moment. Now if they would just make the puff pastry available. Like last week!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            necessity is the mother of invention, and it sounds like you could shout "eureka"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks alkapal. TJs tends to inspire me. I had some leftover spotlight cheese from a coupla months ago that was getting hard and I spied the dried macaroni noodles on the new items shelf. I don't usually make mac and cheese but it turned out fantastic. Now I need more of those macaroni noodles to play with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It's that time again...let's continue the discussion over here for September!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915283