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Sep 30, 2013 10:48 PM

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

Fall is now officially here, and the Great Trader Joe's Pumpkin Fest has begun! There are many new pumpkin products being offered this year, as well as a lot of our old favorites have returned.

What items have you tried recently, and would you rate these items with a Yay/Meh/or Nay?

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  1. Follow up from last week-

    YAY, YAY - Mediterranean hummus!! I formally tried it for dinner with chicken breasts but I really wish it didn't come in such a huge container. I woke up this morning and someone had stolen nearly all of it and left a dirty spoon on the table. SO is out of town so I should probably call the police or ask the car. oh wait, is that hummus on my chin?

    Any one have any other favorites from their hummus line up?

    37 Replies
    1. re: fldhkybnva

      I an addicted to the Horseradish hummus. I will buy three or four at a time, last trip they only had one left. Really good!

      1. re: harleyjt

        Wow, does it have a lot of bite or just mildly nose-burning?

          1. re: harleyjt

            Thanks for the suggestion. They didn't have the artichoke hummus so it was between chipotle or horseradish. I try to limit myself to one hummus a week to prevent serious binging. I ha a small spoonful of the horseradish hummus and it was quite good. I will likely use it this weekend as a dip for baked chicken.

          2. re: fldhkybnva

            Tried ours tonight. Liked it, but agree with the "mild" comment. We mixed-in some extra horseradish, and liked it that way even better!

          3. re: harleyjt

            I picked up some of this yesterday on your rec. what do you recommend for dippers? I'm wishing for a pumpernickel pita chip.

            1. re: Harts52

              I really like the whole wheat Lavash chips. I haven't tried the horseradish hummus. I usually go for TJs eggplant hummus.

              1. re: chinchi

                I wish that eggplant hummus was available over here. I've been hearing about it for years :-(

                Maybe it is time to visit my old friend living in San Francisco. . . .

            2. re: harleyjt

              I dug into the horseradish hummus and while it was apparently good enough for 3/4 of the tub to disappear, I felt it had too much tang for me so probably won't get this one again but definitely not a bad product. I have my eyes on the chipotle this week.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                The chipotle hummus is great! Nice and smokey, probably my second pick after the cilantro jalapeño.
                Do I recall you liking olives, fldhky? Because they have a Kalamata olive hummus as well. I haven't tried it because I don't like olives, but just thought I'd give you a heads up!

                1. re: ohmyyum

                  Oh no, no olives for me. I want to like them but we never get along or at least the last time I tried them several years ago. Given that I seem to like everything I try these days or at least discover a form in which I like it, I perhaps should try again. I think it'll be chipotle then jalapeno cilantro.

                  1. re: ohmyyum

                    I just inhaled a tub of the chipotle hummus alongside a chicken breast and it's great! Thanks for the recommendation, it has a wonderful smokey flavor.

                1. re: sweetestpea

                  That's one of my favorites too. It's barely hummus, though - more "dip"

                  1. re: Savour

                    I agree. There's a nice, subtle cilantro undertone, but except for that we thought it was a bit too creamy and bland. A generous dollop of Sriracha made it much more interesting.

                2. re: fldhkybnva

                  They are all pretty fabulous. The spicy red pepper one is great, also with a hint of cilantro. I'm not a hummus fan by far, but I can suck this stuff up like there's no tomorrow.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I am similar to you, in fact I just started recently being a hummus connoisseur and it was only after finding a few that I find particularly good. I've tried a few which just sit around because it has to be just right for me and then I become addicted.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      See what happens with hummus in the film YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN. Shows people obsessed with hummus.

                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                    Oh my goodness, the cilantro jalapeño hummus is so delicious. I could go through it in one sitting, easily.

                    1. re: ohmyyum

                      even the plain organic hummus is equally as delicious as allthe above mentioned( love the med. hummus+1)

                      1. re: kewpie

                        I agree, the tub of Mediterranean hummus has nearly disappeared in less than a week in my house.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          Please try the cilantro jalapeño as your next pick!

                          1. re: ohmyyum

                            I'm not really a huge fan of cilantro but if the flavor is not overwhelming I can handle it.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              To be honest, I'm not sure what cilantro tastes like so I can't say whether it's a dominant flavor in the hummus. Clearly, it does not taste like soap to me because I don't find it offensive. Maybe others can speak to the cilantro flavor?

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                It only has a touch of cilantro: I think the little bit of heat actually overpowers it.

                              2. re: ohmyyum

                                I just bought that one today. Can't wait to try it!

                            2. re: kewpie

                              Would you recommend the plain organic over the Mediterranean? It's almost TJs day - well it's not really almost Friday but I'm pretending - and I need a new tub to satisfy my fix.

                            3. re: ohmyyum

                              You are so right about the cilantro jalapeno hummus! Delicious! Probably the best hummus they sell.

                              1. re: AmyH

                                Pft no way, that honor goes to the Mediterranean . . . :o)

                                1. re: Rilke

                                  I like the Mediterranean and buy it when I need a "safe" option to bring to a get together but in my opinion the Mediterranean is almost grainy compared to the thick, smooth, silky texture of the cilantro jalapeño.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    I still haven't tried it in fear of the cilantro but perhaps this week it'll be the hummus of choice. I was pondering the tomato basil.

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      The cilantro is not overpowering, but if you're one of those cilantro soap tasters then you might not like it.

                            4. re: fldhkybnva

                              I LOVE that Humus.... It's always a hit at parties...

                              For a lower fat humus, I like the Artichoke Humus...


                              1. re: Dommy

                                Artichoke hummus? Eggplant? I feel so deprived as I have never even seen them in my store (NC).

                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                +1 on the Med hummus - bought it for the first time today. I proceeded to eat the whole top layer of the container w/ the parsley, pine nuts and oil, so now I'm basically left w/ a 3/4-full container of the "plain" hummus. I love their plain hummus so that's not a bad thing, but I wish all the yummy stuff wasn't gone! Btw, no horseradish hummus at my store.

                                1. re: HeyImBack

                                  I mixed all the goods in which was probably a bad idea because then I just had to eat the whole thing to find them.

                              3. YAY-Pumpkin pancake and waffle mix. Pancakes were very light and fluffy!
                                YAY- Pilgrim Joe's Clam Chowder, not sure if this is a new item, I have never noticed it before..
                                Also, they are now selling cinnamon sticks for the low, low price of 1.99!

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: andieb

                                  The cinnamon sticks, as well as the pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg are seasonal, so stock up if you see fit! It was wonderful to have the pumpkin spice on hand this summer for peach cobbler and cinnamon coffee cake.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    I have the pumpkin pie spice and I agree, it is wonderful. And I did stock up on the cinnamon sticks! It really sticks in my craw to spend $$$ for cinnamon sticks that will end up in a boozy drink! LOL...

                                    1. re: andieb

                                      Are the cinnamon sticks and pumpkin pie spice reasonably fresh? I hesitate to buy the pie spice blend or the cinnamon sticks at the local supermarket as often they are a bit stale there.

                                      1. re: buzzardbreath

                                        I am assuming they are since they are both a seasonal item, and have just been brought back. But I could be wrong. I can say I have no complaints with the pumpkin pie spice. I have not used the sticks yet, will do this weekend, but for the purpose I use them, they will be just fine..

                                  2. re: andieb

                                    +1 on the Clam Chowder.

                                    Used it as the base for an easy fish chowder, with TJ's salmon filet as an add-in (bought frozen, then defrosted, microwaved, and tossed in the chowder).

                                    Amped-up with a tsp. of Pimenton and a squirt of Sriracha, it was a hearty bowl of Yum!

                                    1. re: pugsam

                                      Interesting! Is the clam chowder in the canned foods aisle or is it a refrigerated product? (I've never noticed it)

                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                        Canned. (Photo attached, I hope!)

                                        Before we added the nuked salmon (cut into chunks), we nuked and stick-blended the chowdah (including milk, per instructions). I'm sure that other fish/seafood would be good, too. Seasoning is essential.

                                        1. re: pugsam

                                          Thanks! I'm going to try your idea! Im working a lot of hours lately so I really appreciate quickie meals that taste good

                                      2. re: pugsam

                                        We added some leftover TJ's argentian shrimp that was previously a scampi. It really is a good chowder!

                                    2. UNRIPENED BRIE (February Spotlight cheese) is back! I try the spotlight cheese every month just to expand my cheese palate (unless it's a blue), and this was my favorite. So glad it's become a part of their regular offerings. If you haven't tried it before, it's a small round of fresh, young, Brie with no rind. Deliciously milky and mild.

                                      Also noticed the chocolate cheddar and huntsman are back, for those that like them.

                                      21 Replies
                                      1. re: ohmyyum

                                        Chocolate cheddar, that's um...interesting

                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                          YAYAYAAYAYAAYAY!! That was one of the best cheese I've had all year... which says a lot because my local Cheese Monger knows me by name..


                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                            Picked up 2 rounds yesterday and am halfway through one. I was really sad when Feb was gone and this was no longer available. I made sure to rave to the cashier and the store "captain" abiut how happy I was to see it return.

                                            1. re: Pwmfan

                                              Not sure which of the mentioned cheeses you and Dommy are talking about!

                                              1. re: pugsam

                                                The Unripened Brie... Stunning cheese.


                                              2. re: ohmyyum

                                                We tried that chocolate cheddar today.
                                                GF: Big NAY
                                                me: milder nay. The cheese itself seemed like it would have been good, _without_ the added chocolate -- it was kind of like the caramelized onion cheese, minus the onion.

                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                  Us too, I bought the chocolate cheddar last fall for some stay over guests. Not a big hit at all, very weird. They still mention it, jokingly.

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    A cheddar that's not so weird is the Red Fox Red Leicester cheese, October's Spotlight Cheese. Big flavor, great texture, awesome to pair with bold red wines like the Bogle Phantom ($15.99) which is much improved by the addition.

                                                    Value Alert: Northern CA
                                                    Schramsberg Mirabelle Pinot Brut Rose
                                                    Suggested retail: $27, our price $15.99
                                                    Bright strawberries, nice bubbles and acidity with a pleasant finish. Once I kick this cold, I'm bringing home a bottle to share with my hubby.

                                                    1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                      I hope the Red Leicester you mention is the same thing from about two months ago ----- don't recall if it was the Spotlight cheese from perhaps August? All I know is they were giving out samples = I liked it and bought a wedge.

                                                      The sad part of the story is that as soon as I got into it at home I became addicted, and upon return to TJ's there was no more. The employee who checked indicated they didn't expect more. Sad, sad me.

                                                      Might have to call my local store to see if it's back in. I am in love with that cheese.

                                                      1. re: Dave B

                                                        Are you talking about the Red Leicester with two kinds of peppers? That's back, as is an aged red fox Red Leicester which doesn't have peppers and is delicious in its own right.

                                                      2. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                        Do you think this cheese would pair well with chipotle? I thought it'd be nice with the chipotle hummus.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          Since they've got both plain (Red Fox) Red Leicester and the one with chilis in it, it all depends how much heat you want. It's a crumbly, cheddar type.

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            Yea, I guess I just grabbed it, not realizing there was a version with chilis in it. I tossed into eggs yesterday and it's very cheddary but tangy as well.

                                                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            i typically pair chipotles with cheddar , smoked jack, pepper jack or chevre, but i like it most with cheddar.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              It might, depending on how much chipotle was involved. If you have access to some smoked paprika, that could be tasty with the Red Fox as well.

                                                              1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                                Thanks for this great idea. I just put together a few stuffed chicken breasts with mergeuz lamb sausage, Red Fox, Aleppo pepper and smoked paprika.

                                                      3. re: ohmyyum

                                                        I looked for this today but didn't find it at the NYC UWS location. Must try again - it sounds delicious.

                                                        On a related note, does anyone have any opinions on the various gruyeres offered by TJs? I saw three today; 2 imports (one $14.XX a pound, the other $11.99 a pound) and a domestic that was around $10 a pound. I'm looking for an alternative to the Comte from Costco, which isn't quite sharp enough for my taste.

                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                          I love comté, and TJs carries it as well in smaller quantities than Costco. I haven't tried any of the gruyeres, but if you're looking for something sharper, you may enjoy the cheddar mélange. It's a cheddar and gruyere blend (but the texture is definitely more cheddar-ish).

                                                          Also, I've attached a picture of the unripened Brie!

                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                            I love the gruyere that they sell in thin wedges wrapped in paper that costs $14.29 a pound! It's really sharp, tangy, and just really delicious. I've attached a photo of what it looks like. Definitely give it a try.

                                                            1. re: yummfood

                                                              Good to know - that brand is pretty widely available but TJ's price can't be beat. I'll definitely try it next time!

                                                        2. I also purchased the pumpkin cranberry crisps, but I have not tried them yet. Has anyone tried them?

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: andieb

                                                            The pita ones? I got those this weekend - they were great!

                                                            1. re: andieb

                                                              Yes, I got them to pair with the unripened Brie. They are quite like the rosemary raisin crisps, but I think I might prefer the those to the pumpkin, only because I love rosemary. They weren't overwhelming "pumpkins spicy," which I liked.

                                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                Are they as sweet as the rosemary raisin crisps? (not a fan of the sweet...)

                                                              2. re: andieb

                                                                Are these located with the chips or crackers? I looked in the pita chip section (snack aisle) and didn't see any. I didn't look by the crackers though, which are in a separate section in most TJs.

                                                                1. re: chinchi

                                                                  I found them on an end cap with several other new products. In my store, it's located near the cracker/chip aisle and the produce. They weren't with the rest of the pita chips.

                                                                  1. re: chinchi

                                                                    My local store finally got the pumpkin cranberry pita chips (bagged) and pumpkin cranberry crisps (boxed, with the crackers). I went with the pita chips, since they were $1.50 cheaper. They get a YAY from me -- crunchy, flavorful, sweet, and salty. That said, they don't taste like pita chips. If the word "pita" wasn't on the box I never would have made the connection. They taste more like graham crackers to me (maybe because of the whole grain flour & flavorings?). Regardless, I enjoyed them!

                                                                  2. re: andieb

                                                                    I loved them. I like the Rosemary ones as well, but like these better. And yes they have some sweetness.

                                                                    1. re: brilynn79

                                                                      Good to know. I still. have not opened them yet...

                                                                  3. One of my regular frozen entrees is the pesto tortellini bowl. Good pesto flavor and unlike many frozen entrees, it's filling too. So Yay!

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                      Is the tortellini filled with anything else (cheese)?

                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                        Sorry -- yes, cheese filling. 470 calories for the whole bowl (which you will eat).

                                                                        Here's a good review:

                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                            If this is anything like the Amy's pesto tortellini bowl, add Ina bag of frozen steam able broccoli. There's more than enough sauce...

                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                              I believe Amy's manufactures the bowls under the TJs brand name. Tastes exactly the same. I'm a fan :-)

                                                                              1. re: chinchi

                                                                                Could be! The photo on the box looks exactly the same. I've never tried the TJs version (not kosher)

                                                                      2. re: Bob W

                                                                        Tried this today and it's a Meh/Nay for me. Most of the tortellini were way too soft (some were mushy), and it needed a serious dose of salt to have any flavor. I was disappointed b/c I love tortellini. Not a repeat purchase for me, unfortunately.

                                                                        1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                          I'm right there with you. I had it today for lunch and wasn't impressed. It needed salt, some parmesan cheese, and maybe a few sprinkles of shredded mozzarella or something to make it more interesting. Unfortunately, I was at work so I didn't have anything on hand to doctor it up. I won't be buying it again.