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Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Daylight Savings Time will soon end for most of us, which some consider the official start of the fall to winter transition and the ushering in of the wonderful Holiday Season. I'm sure TJ's will have a bounty of holiday products, both new and old to highlight the season.

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

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  1. I'll start!

    Yay to the milk chocolate salted caramel shortbread cookies. They're like a little tiny candybar stuck on top of a crisp little cookie. Delicious and the caramel isn't too salty, which I appreciate.

    8 Replies
    1. re: AmyH

      These sound amazing! I'll be putting my holiday pounds on before the holiday!

      1. re: AmyH

        You had me at "salted caramel". I can't resist anything with that phrase in the name, especially from TJ's :o(

        1. re: AmyH

          They remind me of a more sophisticated twix bar! Same flavor combination.

          1. re: ohmyyum

            Oh there you killed it! I just got a new bag of coffee beans and for sure these are the cookies to go with!!

            --Dommy!

          2. re: AmyH

            Are these in with the "tub" cookies, or are they a special holiday item?

            1. re: Frosty Melon

              No, not in the tub cookies. I believe they are seasonal.
              In a red box.

            2. re: AmyH

              Agreed - these are amazing!

              Unfortunately a no-no for me now - once they are open - there is no stopping.

              1. re: AmyH

                Agreed, huge yay on these. Dangerous, though. I'll easily eat the whole lot in one sitting if I'm not careful.

              2. I'll say yay to Trader Joe's Vintage Ale as an ingredient in soups. I haven't had it in a glass, but I add it into cauliflower and root veg soups and it adds a nice level of spice. It's a "dark ale brewed with spices and natural flavor added." They start having it this time of year.

                7 Replies
                1. re: sandiasingh

                  Hmmm!! I wonder how it would go with Chili! I love adding a touch of beer to my chili...

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    My mom dumps two bottles of Yuengling in each (enormous) batch of chili. I don't like beer but the one time she left it out, the chili was not the same. I wish my TJ's had booze.

                    1. re: Rilke

                      When family visits from PA we always have them bring some Yuengling! I too use it in my chili.

                    2. re: Dommy

                      It has a very nice flavor. A bit spicy and stouty, but not bitter. I would definitely try it with chili.

                      1. re: sandiasingh

                        Not bitter... EXCELLENT! Such a problem when I add stouts to soup or chili! Will give it a shot... this year will be epic for Chili making!

                        --Dommy!

                        1. re: Dommy

                          I often put stout or dark beer in my chili, along with dark chocolate, so any bitterness is cancelled out by some sweetness. Besides, both bitterness and sweetness really bring out the flavor of chili pepper.

                          1. re: Dommy

                            I love cooking with beers and stouts but after several failed dishes that turned out too bitter I learned to use a lager. You get the nice beery taste without the bitterness. But I still think the TJ's holiday Vintage Ale would work too.

                    3. Yea - Seville Orange Marmalade. Not new, but the jams and preserves were all taken off the shelves a while ago, and I'm glad to see this one back. It might be slightly less bitter than before (I like my marmalade to have a bitter edge), but I may just be misremembering. Still excellent, and a lot less expensive than the comparable Keiller's and Dundee from Scotland.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: John Francis

                        I think the last batches were getting increasingly bitter.

                        1. re: John Francis

                          Yes, this is excellent. This has fine flavor with a little pleasant bitterness from the peel. I mix it with plain yogurt. Interesting that I've never seen orange yogurt sold in stores.

                          1. re: elise h

                            Chobani has a blood orange and an orange vanilla Greek yogurt.

                        2. Yay! November Spotlight cheese is called barely buzzed and has coffee grounds on the rind. It sounds odd but it is delicious and really brings out the rich nutty flavors in the cheese.

                          Yay! This cranberry walks into a bar cereal bars. Sweet and slightly tart. I was disappointed that the pumpkin bars sold out so quickly so I will be back to pick up a few more boxes!

                          Yay! Picked up some gorgeous purple asparagus spears for $2.99. Their flavor isn't distinctive but it is beautiful on the plate!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ohmyyum

                            Hmmmmm. One of our local artisan cheese makers here in Utah (Beehive Cheese) makes a coffee-rubbed cheddar called Barely Buzzed. It's been around for a few years now. I wonder if it is the same cheese? It's available in most local markets here. It really is a good cheese!!!

                            1. re: chowing kat

                              I bought that on a Woot deal a couple of years ago, and I always say it's the only cheese I've ever eaten that bites back! It's pretty different.

                            2. re: ohmyyum

                              I only had a nibble but maybe I'll just buy a chunk next week.

                            3. I'm just back from my ewekly trip to TJs. I din't get much but thought I'd comment on a few things I spotted. Also, thanks to whomever suggested I call to reserve the Red Fox ahead of time - they had a few left but not many so I was grateful to get one. The November featured cheese is a cheese rubbed with coffee and Lavendar an dground Coffee. It was interesting but I'm not usually a fan of Lavendar, but it seems like a wonderful choice and a unique combination of flavors.

                              Nay - Bresaolo, it's Citterio brand so I can't blame TJs but the flavor just didn't work for me or lack of flavor. It just tasted like salty meat to me, rather than other salamis with a nice flavor as well. I did spot many rolls of salami from a Chianti to Pinot Grigio which I'm looking forward to trying over the holidays

                              Yay - bagged pre-washed greens, sometimes in other stores these greens are soggy and wilted but I have both arugula and spinach which were great right out of the bag

                              Yay - Cheddar trio, this is a great mix of cheeses for a great price

                              Has anyone tried the guacamole hummus?

                              20 Replies
                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Glad the Red Fox call ahead worked out :-D

                                The guacamole hummus is vile. One of the few items I've returned simply because I hated it.

                                1. re: Rilke

                                  It seemed like an interesting concept, your review sealed the deal. Many other things to try before that :)

                                  1. re: Rilke

                                    I second the nay on the guacamole hummus. I don't know why it hasn't been discontinued already. Terrible.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          It found it's way into pimento cheese today, delicious!

                                        2. re: josephnl

                                          It's a Red Leicester cheese which was the October spotlight cheese.

                                        3. re: Rilke

                                          I also have to say... SO GLAD to have found it recently at my TJs... and it was eagerly snacked upon this afternoon! :D

                                          --Dommy!

                                          1. re: Dommy

                                            I planned to move on from it since it's mid-November and I assumed it'd be gone. I couldn't resist though and saw a few still there Friday morning and grabbed one. I'm leaving it wrapped until the holidays because we know what will happen if I don't.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              RED FOX ALERT, NASHUA NH!!! I was there today. Bought 5 pieces of the Red Fox red leicester cheese that they still had left from October. It's expiry date was a few days ago, not that that matters to me. I did not point that out because one time when that happened with the caramelized onion cheddar, I asked if there would be a markdown. Not only wasn't there one, but they whisked all of it away so I couldn't buy ANY! There were still a few packages on the shelf when I left.

                                              I routinely use their cheese many weeks past their date without a problem. One of the clerks said the Red Fox freezes well so I will try that for a couple of the pieces, though I'm skeptical and would expect it to crumble. That would still be fine for cheese sauces.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                It's still in Towson too as of Friday at least. It's Cheddar-ish, to me it lasts forever though I eat it before then. It's pretty crumbly as is so I wonder what freezing will do. I'm planning to keep mine wrapped for a fe weeks, they are vacuum sealed at least at my local store so should be OK, perhaps you can try that and then freeze whatever is left in a few weeks.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  There was still at least 15 pkgs of the Red Fox at the Santa Maria, CA store when I went the morning of 11/11.

                                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                                            Yeah the guacamole hummus is just....wrong. But i'm a cali born girl aka guac snob. Love most of their hummus (hummuses? Hummi?)

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              damn, i'm not remembering the name of the other brand TJs carries, that offers a trio of Spanish cured meats, which are absolutely delicious. time to make a trip.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                The Celtic Cheddar Trio is great. I'm kinda stockpiling them while they're around.

                                                My favorite TJ's hummus is the eggplant hummus - kind of a cross/combo of hummus and baba ganouj.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  I forgot about the trio on my list for tomorrow! Thanks for the reminder.

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      Just when I think I have decided....They are all great!

                                                      1. re: brilynn79

                                                        I'm loving the Collier's, I didn't really like the Irish much so saving it for SO or the holidays.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          The Collier's and the Scottish are terrific, the Irish good but not as good, to me.