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Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - January 2014!! [OLD]

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014! My winter vacation has just begun, but the rest of the world is probably settling back into a more normal routine with perhaps some lighter and more refreshing eats. I can't wait to browse the aisles and find old and new products to jump start the new year.

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

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  1. Last night's red was the Epicuro Nero d'Avola 2012, from TJ. Much complimented. Good value.

     
    2 Replies
    1. re: pugsam

      Love that and the Aglianico as well.

    2. Cheese blintz this morning with sour cream and fresh blueberries...Yay!

      1. Happy new year, friends! Here's to a happy and healthy 2014!

        Yay! January spotlight cheese-- Herbert excentrique farmstead Gouda! Picked up a wedge yesterday to share with friends and it was a huge hit. Young, mild, creamy Gouda with a hint of sweetness and nuttiness. At $8.99/lb, this will definitely be a repeat purchase for me!

        3 Replies
        1. re: ohmyyum

          dang! i missed it when i went in on monday! i was just happy to find the foxlight red which was the spotlight cheese around october, but they brought back and i LLLOOOOOVVVEEE it! now i'm going to search for that gouda!

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Yes, the Red Fox is back, at least here in Vegas. In fact, it never left, and the manager told me he thinks it's now a permanent item. Of course, "permanent item" is a relative term when we're talking about TJ's.

        2. Nay - sweet potato tots. Even baked at a higher temp, they never quite get crispy and moosh when you bite into them. I'll stick w/ the regular fries.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dailywaffle

            Yes, I agree. They sound good but they stay soggy.

          2. Tried the cowboy bark- dark chocolate with joe joes, pretzels, toffee, and peanuts. Meh. Too sweet, but not sweet enough at the same time.

            Cinnamon raisin loaf- stale. Nay.

            Sweet potato latkes- mushy and undercooked. Weird flavor. Nay

            1. HUGE YAY: Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins - My new favorite cookie...they taste homemade. They are a very thin crisp butter cookie with a perfectly balanced lemon flavor, not too tart at all. Delicious with a cup of tea but honestly these are so addictive I find myself reaching for them as a sweet snack often!

              8 Replies
              1. re: littleflower

                Are these the thin cookies that also come in a coconut flavor? If they are, I've tried the coconut ones and they are really nice. I'm not much of a lemon cookie person but you've made them sound so good I'll have to give them a try.

                1. re: Harts52

                  The thin ginger cookies are delish too.

                  1. re: Harts52

                    Yes they are the same cookie thins, and also come in a ginger flavor. I have only tried the meyer lemon flavor so far.

                  2. re: littleflower

                    I agree, big YAY, these are delicious and addictive in all of the flavors!

                    1. re: Wondergirl_lolo

                      As strange of a combination as this may sound, lately I have been taking two meyer lemon thins and making a cookie sandwich with them by placing a spoonful of crunchy cookie butter in the middle of the two cookies and pressing them together. SO YUM!

                      1. re: littleflower

                        Does not sound strange...sounds delicious. Now if you had said dill pickle...

                  3. I just tried the TJ Kouign Amann. The instructions on the box said to let them rise overnight or 6-7 hours in a warm spot. Finally found a warm spot and the rise took about 7+. They puffed up beautifully in the oven and took 30 minutes. They weren't bad and they will do in a pinch when you're craving them- yet they weren't close to the quality of Bouchon Bakery in size or taste.

                    I have made Kouign Amann for scratch; it's a labor of love and takes all day. Plus you need to do your research for the butter, having superfine sugar and Maldon sea salt is best for this recipe. BUT it takes ALL day, with all the turns in the pastry so you have those wonderful laminations like puff and croissant pastry.

                    TJ's will be my go to, when I have a craving and no time to make my own (aka lazy) :-))

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: jsbee527

                      Rather than being (slightly) disappointed in the ones from tj, I think i would be extremely disappointed in Bouchon Bakery if they were not far superior to tj's

                      1. re: 51rich

                        Very true! Of course! I'm 3000 miles from my favourite Bouchon, and miss them terribly! It was a daily visit to see if they had cannelés or had sold out of Kouign Amann. I also miss Chaumont for their fabulous Vienosserie as well!

                        1. re: 51rich

                          Take a look at the Kouign Amanns we can get in Minnesota. This is my favorite pastry of all time. TJs doesn't come close, but it definitely will do in a pinch.

                          http://heavytable.com/kouign-aman-at-...

                          1. re: shoo bee doo

                            Those look awesome! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to check to see if they ship!

                        2. re: jsbee527

                          Another yay! I finished off my box this morning and definitely enjoyed them, but prefer the croissants.

                          1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                            I liked both the croissants and the kouign amanns. It's not perfect but for the price and convenience, they're a weekend go-to for us.

                          2. re: jsbee527

                            Do try the croissant...both chocolate and plain. They are terrific!

                            1. re: josephnl

                              +1. It's a staple in our freezer.

                            2. re: jsbee527

                              Just tried the Kouign Amann. Yay from both of us. I've had them from a bakery only once (Emporio Rulli in San Francisco), and the TJ version blew those out of the water.

                              1. re: Steve Green

                                Wow, that is high praise! I like them as well but am currently hooked on the almond croissants which have stolen my attention lately! :-)

                                1. re: Steve Green

                                  I agree with you; big yay. I put my oven on low and set the pan on top of stove so they'd have a warm place to rise. What did they cost? I know they are a lot less expensive than from a bakery. I'd forgotten to take them out night before so I took them out in a.m. and had my daughter bake them off since I had to leave. I did not get to try it warm but the one I ate cold, I enjoyed every single buttery bite.

                                  1. re: walker

                                    I think they are $3.99 or $4.99 a box (a Kouign Amann run between $3 - 5 each at bakeries in SF).

                                    I actually prefer them completely cool, when warm the sugar was still liquidly...but completely cool, it forms into a nice caramelized sugar crust with a nice crunch.

                                    1. re: gnomatic

                                      I agree! We baked them for breakfast on Sunday, and let them cool down. Excellent. Dangerous!

                                      1. re: gnomatic

                                        What a bargain! For bakeries in SF, what's your favorite?

                                        I really like B. Patisserie but only tried the Breton there. Very tasty. Too bad they are closed Mondays and close other days at 6 pm.

                                        1. re: walker

                                          I am not a huge fan of Kouign Amann, it's a bit too much for my usual pastry craving. I didn't care for any of the SF version (tried Starter, La Boulange..and maybe B. Patisserie. I think I had the one from Bouchon Bakery as well. I did love the version at Fuji Bakery in Seattle, it had the caramelized sugar crunch.

                                      2. re: walker

                                        Walker.. I'm confused about how you let them rise. Did you warm a tray in the oven and then leave them out to rise? Or did you warm the oven and then put the tray in there?

                                        1. re: MisterBill2

                                          It was kind of cool in my house so I put the oven on low, just above the "warm" setting. I put the frozen pastries on a half sheet pan (in their little paper liners that I'd first sprayed with Pam, as per directions) and placed it on top of the stove. Warm air from the oven was coming out of the vents; I thought it would need this warmth to proof properly.

                                          1. re: walker

                                            Put me in the "yay" camp for the KA also. I actually liked it better than some of the bakery ones I've had, which sometimes are too much of a butter bomb (and I love butter!).

                                            I don't think you need a lot of heat for them to proof. My kitchen is quite cool (I live in the Bay Area and rarely turn the heat on). I put them on the back of the stove partially over a small pilot light and they puffed up fine.

                                            If you want more sugar crunch, you could sprinkle them with a little more coarse sugar before you bake them.

                                  2. With a new TJ's opening in my town a few months ago, I've paid more attention to these threads than before. Unfortunately, I tend to forget what is good and what is meh or nay by the time I get there. TJ's should do a shopping app where people could do their shopping lists on their phone before going. I'd pay for it.

                                    25 Replies
                                    1. re: Leepa

                                      part of the appeal to tj' s is the wide variety of interesting items- just keep your own list and explore .(Hint) avoid the frozen desserts - and the fresh baked ones too- absolutely no good for the waistline- now if i could only follow my own advice

                                      1. re: 51rich

                                        ...but don't get the wrong idea about avoiding! Some are very very good.

                                      2. re: Leepa

                                        Write it down? Send yourself an email?

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          Good idea. My problem is I'm one of those people who are famous for making lists but always forget to take them with me to the store... :)

                                          But I always have my iPad with me... that's why I was thinking an app would be cool.

                                            1. re: Harts52

                                              Cool. thanks. I'll check it out.

                                              1. re: Harts52

                                                I've tried list apps - they just aren't flexible enough for me. I use a Google Docs spreadsheet. 1 tab for each store in one sheet.

                                                Geeky, but useful for me.

                                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                                  Out of Milk lets you have a list for each store. I had tried lots of apps, google drive and email lists and none worked as well for my purposes as Out of Milk. One of my favorite features is that I can tap the item after I put it in my basket and it gets checked, grayed out and put at the bottom of the list.

                                                  Another cool feature is being able to manually sort. I keep adding to my list throughout the week and then sort it in the order of the aisles right before I go out the door.

                                                  1. re: Harts52

                                                    Is this the paid (pro) version?

                                                    Been a while since I used it (free version). No doubt it has improved since then. I will give it another try. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                      The version I use is the paid version. It's been so long since I used the free version that I'm not sure what the difference is between the free vs. paid. I have to say, I like it so much that when I went from droid to iOS, the pivotal issue was whether there was an iOS version of Out of Milk. Between the shopping, pantry and to do lists, it's pretty much holding my entire life in it's little electronic noggin.

                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                        I mentioned somewhere that I use shop shop .. it's free and I like it.

                                                        Also, someone mentioned the cilantro/chive yogurt dip; just bought some and it's delicious. I cut up some organic cukes and carrots and put the dip on the quinoa/black bean chips, then cuke or carrot on top .. great little snack.

                                                        1. re: walker

                                                          "Anylist" is free and allows you to share with others. When one of us crosses off an Item on the list, the other stops looking for it (very useful at Costco). If my husband is at Publix, I can add an item to his list while he is shopping.

                                                      2. re: Harts52

                                                        I've found a lot of great things from TJ's through this monthly thread, and now I've found Out of Milk. It's great - thanks.

                                                    2. re: Harts52

                                                      I really like the Out of Milk app, but so far have only figured out how to make a master TJ's grocery list of things I normally buy at TJ's. Is there a way to use one master list to create another list just for things that I need to buy from there for that week? Thanks in advance!

                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                        I use the Shopping List section for a master list of everything that I buy or want to buy at TJs. Then I keep my "I need this next trip" list in a TJs list in Pantry. If I need an item, I got to Shopping List, find the item, tap it and tap "copy" and my various stores pop up. Copy it to TJs and voila!

                                                        Also, if you tap the three bars in the upper left corner, you can go to sorting options. I sort alpha for the main list but choose manual for the list
                                                        In the pantry and I can drag the items around so they are in aisle order.

                                                    3. re: Leepa

                                                      There are a bunch of shopping list apps. I use the one that's integrated with Cozi, but there are several others I've used.

                                                  2. re: Leepa

                                                    Leepa, re phone lists -- This is my TJ's list I keep in my phone (which also syncs with my computer in Notes). It gets updated all the time with new items the folks here rave about and I think I'd like to try, as well as my go-to favorites I might need to buy more of while I'm there. For me my phone list is an absolute requirement or else I'd forget 2/3 of the stuff I went there to get!

                                                    Things I've already tried and really like = *

                                                    Produce:
                                                    Thomcord Grapes*
                                                    Beefsteak tomatoes

                                                    Meats:
                                                    Ham - uncured spiral sliced (seasonal)*
                                                    Chianti red wine salami
                                                    Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa*

                                                    Cheeses/Fresh/Refrigerated:
                                                    Handmade Tamales (large pack of 10)*
                                                    Curried white chicken salad
                                                    Egg white salad
                                                    Refrigerated Limeade
                                                    Spinach tortelinni
                                                    Honey Tangerine juice
                                                    Cilantro jalapeno hummus*
                                                    Melkbus Gouda*
                                                    1000 Day Gouda*
                                                    Unexpected Cheddar*
                                                    Cambozola cheese
                                                    Unripened Brie (small rounds)
                                                    Le Delice de Bourgogne triple cream soft cheese*
                                                    3-year "Artisan Reserve" extra-sharp cheddar*
                                                    Goat cheese*
                                                    Red Leicester*

                                                    Frozen:
                                                    Super sweet cut white corn*
                                                    Poutine
                                                    Chile-Lime Chicken Burgers
                                                    Lightly Breaded Reduced Fat Fish Sticks
                                                    Artichokes (for paella)
                                                    Leeks
                                                    Sugar snap peas
                                                    Sweet potato tots
                                                    Tamales (meat, and corn)*
                                                    Turkey meatballs
                                                    Fully Cooked Falafel
                                                    Garlic naan bread
                                                    Chicken/Cilantro mini-Wontons*
                                                    Kimchi fried rice*
                                                    True Belgian Brussels Sprouts*
                                                    Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers*
                                                    TJ's vegetable marsala burgers*
                                                    TJ's veggie burgers*

                                                    Snacks, Condiments and other Misc items:
                                                    Tortelini w/pesto filling (dried)
                                                    Thai chili paste (dry, with lemongrass)
                                                    Instant hot cereal: Multigrain tripple berry*
                                                    Fried Onions (seasonal)*
                                                    Jarred/Canned Peaches
                                                    Spicy Seaweed Ramen*
                                                    Dijon Mustard (with white wine)* + 4 mustard set (for gifts)
                                                    Rice Orzo Pilaf Mix
                                                    Quinoa Black Bean Chips (for SK)
                                                    Corn & Chile tom-less salsa
                                                    Mixed berry scone mix*
                                                    Stone-ground white grits* (discontinued?)
                                                    Olive oil - California Estate*
                                                    Pita Chip crackers (plain better than wheat)*
                                                    Cashews 50% less salt (bag)*
                                                    Smoked Sardines? (Or plain from Spain/Ital/Portugal)
                                                    Mini Cheddar Chipotle Potato Bites
                                                    TJ's Real Mayonnaise*
                                                    Red pepper spread*
                                                    Kalamata olive extra-virgin oil
                                                    Felafal chips
                                                    Brown jasmine rice
                                                    Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil
                                                    TJ's tomato paste in 4.93 oz tubes* (discontinued?)
                                                    Brioche toasts (crackers like Melba)
                                                    Canned corn (some raves)
                                                    Giant beans in tom sauce*

                                                    Wine:
                                                    California Cosmia Pinot Noir $7.99
                                                    Also:
                                                    Grifone Primitivo*
                                                    Grifone Sangiovese
                                                    Le Grotte Lambrusco Dell'Emilia Bianco* (SK) + Rose avail. Seasonal?

                                                    1. re: Dave B

                                                      and here's my list:

                                                      Produce:
                                                      shallots
                                                      spinach
                                                      lemons
                                                      kale
                                                      fennel

                                                      Staples:
                                                      ww tuscan pane bread
                                                      sugar: brown, granulated
                                                      baking powder
                                                      baking soda
                                                      clarified butter
                                                      creamed honey
                                                      maple syrup
                                                      quinoa: white, red
                                                      trader joe’s Os cereal
                                                      steel cut oats
                                                      rolled oats
                                                      flaxseed meal
                                                      pasta
                                                      red pepper tomato soup
                                                      marinated mushrooms
                                                      crackers
                                                      cookies (belgian waffle)
                                                      nuts: pecans, almonds, pistachios, walnuts
                                                      dried fruit: cherries, cranberries
                                                      morello cherries
                                                      chocolate, pound plus
                                                      85% chocolate bars
                                                      condensed milk
                                                      shelf stable heavy cream
                                                      olive oil
                                                      grapeseed oil
                                                      canola oil
                                                      coconut oil
                                                      spray: olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil
                                                      vinegar: red wine, apple cider; orange muscat, rice wine
                                                      mayonnaise
                                                      coconut milk
                                                      coconut oil
                                                      box soy milk
                                                      marinara sauce (green can)
                                                      bread crumbs

                                                      Dairy:
                                                      rice pudding
                                                      eggs
                                                      cheese:
                                                      parmesan, fresh mozzarella, cheddar, gruyere, brie, cheddar, smoked gouda
                                                      fresh ravioli
                                                      heavy cream
                                                      butter
                                                      mediterranean hummus
                                                      yogurt: chocolate
                                                      bacon

                                                      Frozen:
                                                      mac and cheese
                                                      tarte d'alsace
                                                      leeks
                                                      meatballs*
                                                      puff pastry
                                                      pie crust
                                                      fruits
                                                      arctic char
                                                      garlic naan

                                                      1. re: wonderwoman

                                                        Cool. Thanks you two...Dave and Wonderwoman.

                                                      2. re: Dave B

                                                        So how do you like the frozen leeks? I bought some at the monthly trip but am curious if they are a yay or not before I yuck up a soup with them.

                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                          Thanks, wondering the same thing as this is the first time I noticed them so bought a bag. Want to make a potato and leek braise. Thanks

                                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                                            Love them--always have them in the freezer.

                                                            1. re: foodslut

                                                              Same here. I use them all the time and the cook up great.

                                                        2. re: Leepa

                                                          For starters, you can't go wrong with any of the frozen fruits and vegetables. Everything else is mixed and depends on what you like. But the little green beans, the broccoli flowrets, the pre-peeled little onions, the red raspberries and pineapple and strawberries, are 100%. Personally I like the frozen Indian enteees, the TJ hummos, the Sweet Chili Sauce, and of course the array of dried fruits and nuts. And the Truffle Brownie Mix.

                                                          1. re: Leepa

                                                            I am making a list from this thread as I read it on my Notepad on my Macbook, which syncs with my iPhone. I'm assuming an iPad has the Notepad feature as well.

                                                            I keep a general shopping list as well as a separate list for Costco and another for TJ's. It has really cut down on my getting home and realizing I forgot something. It's pretty basic and can be a pain to scroll down a long list, but it's easy and straightforward.

                                                          2. There's a new product in the Indian frozen meal line: vegetable biryani with vegetable dumplings. I bought a box and was looking forward to trying it, but my son beat me to it. He said it was very good, though. I'll be buying another box or two when I go again on Saturday.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                              too bad they couldn't go the extra step and make those items vegan.

                                                              1. re: Funkalicious

                                                                I agree! Its sooooo close yet.....not

                                                                1. re: Funkalicious

                                                                  There's an excellent Indian vegetarian restaurant near me, with a huge menu, but overwhelmingly non-vegan. Much of regional Indian cuisine is dairy-dependent. I don't think catering to vegan diets is a priority of companies producing Indian dishes.

                                                                  1. re: Funkalicious

                                                                    I tried the vegetable biryani tonight (I actually got to eat some before my son stole it again) and it was really good. But I'm curious as to what on the ingredient list makes it not vegan. There was no dairy in it, or honey. Just vegetables, rice and spices, canola and/or sunflower oil, wheat flour. The box is marked vegetarian, not vegan, but I don't understand why. Anyway, it was a YAY for me.

                                                                    Also the vegetable pakoras (which I think might be new) are a yay. They taste a lot like the veggie masala burgers (which taste a lot like somosa filling) but in spherical form. There's a dipping sauce that comes with them that's pretty good. Tastes like the purple sauce you get in Indian restaurants (which I'm currently blanking on the name for ) but not as thick.

                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                      tamarind sauce is the tart, dark dipping sauce at indian places

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        Yes, thank you! I just couldn't pluck the word tamarind out of my brain last night. I think the sauce that coems with the pakoras has some tamarind in it, but it's much thinner.

                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                      TJ Mango Ginger Gourmet Chutney is soooo good. YAY It has the right amount of sweetness and tang, I love it on my spicy food. Indian dishes, the Marsala burger, sandwiches.

                                                                      I found a photo of it on amazon, I can't the price on amazon where it's really cheap $2something at Trader Joes.

                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Ins...

                                                                      1. re: Funkalicious

                                                                        Agree, Yay! I have become obsessed with this chutney. I get the brioche toasts (also a big yay!), top with some whipped cream cheese, and finish it off with mango ginger chutney. SO delicious! This chutney is also great in a sandwich with some really nice cheddar, or lately I've had it with an Aged Havarti I found in the cheese section (I think it was seasonal, but not sure). I toast up one of their bake at home baguettes and make a sandwich with the Havarti and Chutney. YAY!

                                                                        1. re: Funkalicious

                                                                          is this like a major grey's chutney? is it chunky or less so?

                                                                      2. Three Yays:

                                                                        Spinach-Kale Bites
                                                                        Korean pancakes (scallions, etc)
                                                                        Poutine (would be an even bigger yay with a little more gravy, but still good)

                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                          Blargh, I just got back from TJs and forgot Poutine!

                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                            love the spinach kale bites. just had them tonight!

                                                                            Recent Yays for me:

                                                                            - Peppermint Pretzel slims (OMG, these are ridiculous)
                                                                            - milk chocolate s'more bites
                                                                            - dark chocolate peppermint bites (like a York p. patty bite, but better)
                                                                            - Thai style shrimp fried rice (awesome)
                                                                            - mango ginger chutney
                                                                            - fig butter
                                                                            - plain, chocolate, almond or pumpkin croissants (frozen)
                                                                            - taco shells and taco seasoning pack
                                                                            - cauliflower gratin (refrigerated readymade side dish)
                                                                            - spiral ham (uncured, nitrate free) -- really great!
                                                                            - buttermilk (i now buy it as a staple)
                                                                            - handmade whole wheat tortillas
                                                                            - corn tortillas
                                                                            - refried black beans
                                                                            And i have to give a real nod of approval to some of the Indian frozen dishes:
                                                                            - palak paneer
                                                                            - channa masala
                                                                            in particular. they aren't my mom's homemade recipes, or even my attempts to recreate them, but for frozen dishes, they are far more than passable.

                                                                            I often keep the these 2 in the freezer to serve as sides when I make Indian kebabs or a curry entree during the week and need some quick assistance with sides. not perfect, but quite good if you don't have great Indian takeout accessible to you.

                                                                            1. re: MAH

                                                                              I had the frozen palak paneer recently and was very happily surprised by how good it was.

                                                                              1. re: MAH

                                                                                Is the buttermilk better than the average grocery store stuff?

                                                                                1. re: gildeddawn

                                                                                  Dairy is local, but at my TJ's it is from Tuscan Dairy, same as the other stores, but it's $1.79 instead of $2.89.

                                                                                2. re: MAH

                                                                                  The spinach kale bites have become a handy go-to for me to keep in the freezer.
                                                                                  I mashed the spinach kale bites with a little olive oil and spread it on sliced French bread topped with grated sharp cheese. I popped it in oven to melt the cheese.
                                                                                  I'm thinking it would be good as a spread on crackers or on a ready made pizza crust topped with tomato and cheese. Or an addition to a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich?

                                                                                3. re: Bob W

                                                                                  Are the korean pancakes vegetarian?

                                                                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                    yes. I think that most restaurants serve them with seafood, but the TJ version is veggie.

                                                                                    1. re: elise h

                                                                                      My stupid TJs was a zoo at 2pm on a wednesday.....(???!) and they were out of these! Going on my list for the next trip

                                                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                        I remember 2pm being an uptick time on school days, as the parents come in before picking up the kids from school.

                                                                                    2. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                      Do the korean pancakes have red pepper in them? The picture outside makes it appear so but the ingredients list doesn't include it so I wasn't sure.

                                                                                      1. re: Bugsey34

                                                                                        I didn't detect any red pepper in them when I had them tonight.

                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                          Thanks, I'll have to try them then.

                                                                                          1. re: Bugsey34

                                                                                            I thought they were quite good. There's a lot of spinach in them so they seemed fairly healthy.

                                                                                  2. YAY
                                                                                    -Apocryphal wheat pita - perfect size and really good for store-bought pita, I had a very tasty lunch of leftover lamb, TJs Greek Feta in brine, TJs Mediterranean hummus and grape tomatoes.

                                                                                    -Fruit: grapefruit, Cara Cara oranges and blackberries - I know I abanone TJs fruit and veggies last week, but with fruit it's much easier to assess the quality before buying. The blackberries were half the price of any other store - 12 oz for $3.50. Grapefruit and oranges were a steal - huge bags with 6 or 7 fruit each for less than $3 each (I will admit sometimes when I really need a grapefruit I shell out $2 for 1! at WF)

                                                                                    TBD
                                                                                    I also bought the Tart d'Alsace pizza as well as refrigerated cinnamon rolls neither of which I've tried before and hope they live up to the reviews. Is there any way to divide the cinnamon rolls after opening the can? I assume they are like the Pillsbury pop can and perhaps I can wrap and freeze a few to be baked later.

                                                                                    Has anyone tried the frozen steamer clams?

                                                                                    54 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                      I bought the grapefruit all last year- till I started getting rotten ones in the middle of the bag. :(,

                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                        I got some clementines on Saturday. Half the bag was rotten (and I mean mold-covered and nasty rotten) by Monday. I'll be telling them about it when I go back this Saturday.

                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                          :-(

                                                                                          I've had such good luck with some of their produce and such bad luck with other, especially citrus. I've ended up only buying limes and lemons and zesting-juicing-freezing as soon as I get home. I bought a singular orange once and it lasted a couple weeks. I'm always happy with avocados (individual - haven tried the bagged) but then you can pretty much feel where they are in terms of brink-of-death.

                                                                                          I do have consistent good luck with organic romaine, organic celery and mushrooms.

                                                                                          1. re: Harts52

                                                                                            It's hit or miss but since they have a return policy I guess I'm willing to take some misses. Both the grapefruit and Cara Cara oranges were great and all were fresh throughout at least a week. Last week I bought blackberries and they were also great.

                                                                                            1. re: Harts52

                                                                                              I bought a bag of their naval oranges and although they were not moldy, I have had better tasting oranges.

                                                                                              Has anyone tried the fresh papaya, mango, and pineapple slices found in a clear plastic container that can vouch for it? I could give it a try but really want to avoid the hassle of having to return it if it's not good.

                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                I've had the mango on its own, thumbs up. Haven't tried the mixed one but I remember customers liking it when I worked there.

                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                  The mango are usually underripe, but the pineapple are delicious. I haven't seen the really good navel oranges yet - the Sky Valley Heirloom ones.

                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                    YAY: Organic Tropical Fruit Blend (frozen). Upon recommendation from a TJ's employee, I decided to try this instead of trying the fresh sliced tropical fruits. Frozen mango, pineapple strawberries, and bananas ... only wish was that it contained papaya chunks instead of bananas! Bonus points that all the cut up fruit is organic!

                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                      Have you considered just buying the separate mango chunks, pineapple pieces, and strawberries?

                                                                                                      1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                        I have, but my freezer space is very limited right now. I may go this route in the future once I free up room.

                                                                                                        Also I heard that at one time TJ's offered frozen papaya chunks...wish they still did!

                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                          i'm not a big papaya fan -- unless it is green papaya for thai som tum salad -- but my brother-in-law loves the canned papaya (he also grows papayas). i think the brand is libby's. i have no idea how the canned would compare with the frozen, flavor- or texture-wise

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Great suggestion!! I hadn't even considered looking for canned papaya. Libby and Del Monte both carry it in their product line according to their websites. I will give this a try...thanks so much for letting me know!

                                                                                                          2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                            Don't know if it's still there, but a few years ago I bought papaya in the tall glass jar, like the current pears and peaches are packed.

                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              Oh I wish they still did, grey! They only carry the jarred pears and peaches now.

                                                                                                  2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                    Blargh so sorry. I'll be joining you this week. I keep forgetting receipts for rotten produce since I happen to stop in the store often and unplanned.

                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                      They never require receipts, although mine is probably at the bottom of my reusable bag still.

                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                        That's what I thought but the first of three receipts for which I still need to return I tried to return without it and the cashier told me I needed a receipt.

                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                          Oh! Well, I'll see how I fare at my local store on Saturday. I sure wasn't going to keep the rotten clementines to show them. I tossed another today.

                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                        flldhkybnva and cheesecake17, you were right. I went up to the desk and told the woman there about my rotten clementines. She said she was sorry and did I have a receipt. As it happens, I did, because they tend to live a long time in the bottom of my reusable bags. So she gave me my money back. I guess if I hadn't had the receipt she wouldn't have, but I don't know that for sure. This seems to be a new policy for them, doesn't it?

                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                          Yup! I've returned things on my word before until a month or so ago. Now I just throw all receipts in my reusable bag in case something needs to be returned.

                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                            Without a receipt they will typically offer you a replacement (if available) or a credit. Amazingly, even with either the product or a receipt, they will usually give you a replacement. We opened a bag of hearts of romaine several weeks ago, that had some gone moldy…they were slimy & stunk. I threw them away. When next in TJ's I just mentioned to a manager, and he insisted that I take a new bag of romaine hearts!

                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                              Maybe. I returned crème fraîche that had gone moldy 2 days after the "sell-by" date, which is ridic.

                                                                                                              Simply picked up a new container for free.

                                                                                                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                        I've never had the pillsbury rolls but the TJs ones are in a pop can. My mom bought them once and froze the unbaked rolls and they were fine. Not my favorite though- kind of dry. The crescent rolls are better. (I make mini Danish with them)

                                                                                                        If there's an aldi near you, they have the cinnamon rolls, pretzel rolls, and crescent rolls at half the price of TJs

                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                          cheesecake17, way to squash my joy :) jk Good to know, that even the fruit can be deceiving. I'm planning my first trip to Aldi's this week. It's down the street and I've just never been but am on vacation so want to go browse.

                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                            Sorry! But at least you can always return them.

                                                                                                            Enjoy aldi! Bring you own bags, and cash or debit

                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                              Oh, yes if they are rotten I certainly will. I feel awful that I already have three receipts with returns - nasty asparagus, green beans and an open bottle of something or other I can't remember, but it's their policy and the food was rotten before it went in the fridge.

                                                                                                              Thanks for the reminder. I always want to run over there but never have cash on hand. Ooh, they take debit? That'll work if I forget to go to the ATM.

                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                Yes, aldi takes only cash and debit. You have to type in a PIN for debit. Have fun shopping!

                                                                                                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                              Try aldis grapefruit when you go. They are what motivated me to try Aldis and what keeps me comi g back especially during the winter (grapefruit season)

                                                                                                            3. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                              check the ingredient lists at aldi's though - lots of these "canned" baked goods have tons of crap ingredients, and trader joes is pretty basic!

                                                                                                            4. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                              I am always suspicious of TJ's fresh fruits and vegetables and check them thoroughly but have had good luck with the citrus, apples, and pears.

                                                                                                              1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                So fat so good, the blackberries were as unripe as the others around own but I admit that when I buy them in January and enjoy them that way sometimes. I've had at least 2 of the grapefruit and oranges so far and thy were tasty. I hope the rest of the bag doesn't fail me :) Even if all the rest are rotten the 4 fruit were cheaper than they would have been elsewhere.

                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                  I share your suspicion, and had some bad luck with apples from there this past fall.

                                                                                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                    I cannot WAIT for the Sky Valley heirloom navel oranges to show up for the season. One of my all-time favorite foods.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                      Me too!! The taste of the heirloom oranges puts all other navel oranges that I have tried to shame! I hope this year's batch is just as good as in previous years - can't wait!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                        Yes! I bought the Cara Cara oranges this week, and they're good, but not as good as the Sky Valley.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                          Huge yay for the Sky Valley navel oranges! I've been looking for them based on all of the recommendations and today my store (Westwood, CA) had them! I'm eating one right now and it is as good as you all said.

                                                                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                                                                            I was told that my TJ's was going to have them in this weekend, and I was unable to go yesterday morning so I called to see if they could please save me a bag to pick up today. When I got there this morning they were gone from the shelf! Thank goodness they had saved me a bag in the back, and the employee there said they went through 11 cases of them in one day and they had to reorder more! I have yet to try mine (I prefer eating them cold from the refrigerator) but have loved them the past few years.

                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                              hmmm... i'm eating one now too but i don't find i love them as much as the Cara Caras i bought last week. which they were out of this weekend. wah.

                                                                                                                              don't get me wrong, they're still good.

                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                Another yay for Sky Valley oranges -- great flavor.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                  HUGE YAY for the Sky Valley Heirloom Oranges. This is my third year enjoying them, and this year's oranges are just exceptional in flavor. I noticed the difference when I sliced one in half...they barely had any noticeable white membrane (pith?)on the inside which probably contributes to their sweetness. Plus it was just bursting with juice as I was eating it.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                The only citrus they had at my TJ's last week was grapefruit, lemons, and limes. No oranges or tangerines, etc. There were empty spots so either there was a shipping problem or they had sold out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                  They had the Sky Valley oranges at my TJs in MA early in the week and I should have bought them...because by yesterday they were gone. :( I asked and the woman told me that her manager said if they become available to order again he will order A LOT but was not confident that would happen. Very bummed. Really like the Cara Caras though.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kt1969

                                                                                                                                    I got two bags in Burlington yesty. They had a whole big bin of them in the entry vestibule (none in the actual produce section). I was a little concerned that they might have frozen because they did seem rather firm, but they seem to be okay.

                                                                                                                                    They seem to be smaller this year than in previous seasons, but since the west coast is in a drought, that's to be expected. They are the size of a medium-large tangerine. Still great flavor and very thin skin compared to other navels.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                      I picked up a bag in SF Bay area and they don't taste special to me; they just taste like any orange I could buy anywhere. The only oranges I get excited about are Tom Wilson oranges from Riverside; Andronico in SF gets them in about March every year or you can order from the farm.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                        You are the second person with direct access to California fruits/produce who wasn't particularly impressed with the Sky Valley Heirlooms. My best guess is that for the majority of the country who doesn't live near orange groves that these are the some of the best tasting oranges that we can get.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                          Well I live in California and I think they're great - particularly for juicing.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                            Bought 2 more bags the other day and they are not nearly as good as the first two. These taste like very good but standard oranges - the earlier batch had a very concentrated sweet tart taste.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                              maybe i got a "later" batch too, as i wasn't impressed at all by them. (California girl here, too.) but i can't get enough of the Cara-Caras. actually haven't found them at TJs lately, just my local stupidmarket.

                                                                                                                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                              I've had the steamer clams lots of times. I'd give them a yay. They are super easy to fix. I kind of doubted clams in the microwave could be any good but these proved me wrong. There's plenty of broth so you could toss some pasta and cheese and have a complete meal.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                Wow, I'm shocked thanks for the feedback.

                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                I tried the steamer clams and won't again. I found them kinda tough, kinda sandy and although they smelled garlicky the broth was pretty watery and didn't impart a lot of taste to the clams. They weren't horrible enough that I asked for my money back, but they weren't good enough to want to repeat the experience.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                  I tried them once and a good number of them were broken from the get-go. Those that were left were tough.

                                                                                                                                  They're pretty reasonable fresh at my local fishmonger, so I now stick to those.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                    I tried some today and I thought they were awful. The garlic smelled odd and the broth didn't have much clam flavor.

                                                                                                                                2. Yay-

                                                                                                                                  Sun dried tomatoes in the resealable bag - I love tomatoes in nearly every from but never really enjoyed them when sun dried. Yesterday in the store they were tasting the cream cheese, pesto, sun dried tomato torta and since I had already made pesto for dinner I thought the tomatoes would be worth a shot to mix in. They were very good. I didn't rehydrate, just diced them and mixed in and the flavor was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the comments. I've bought a bag but haven't opened it yet.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                      I buy these and add them to salads.

                                                                                                                                    2. Another Yay-

                                                                                                                                      Pinot Grigio salami-really good, not as good as the Chianti salami but really good

                                                                                                                                      1. Our fearless leader up there reminds me - yay to the Sun Dried Tomato/Pesto Torta. Our NYE dinner pals brought one along, and although one of us would not touch it, the other 3 did a great job of pretty much demolishing it.

                                                                                                                                        PS - fldhkybnva - thank you for continuing this thread!

                                                                                                                                        1. Two new Yays:

                                                                                                                                          Smoked Copper River Sockeye Salmon - a really nice texture and (to me) worth the $9.99 for 6 oz

                                                                                                                                          Spiced Chai tea bags - makes a decent masala chai

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hickory

                                                                                                                                            wow, I was so excited to try the Copper River smoked salmon, but it smells very fishy, like it's gone bad. Taste is OK, texture is lovely but can't get past the smell and may take it back

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Hickory

                                                                                                                                              Seconding the chai. It's my afternoon pick-me-up of the moment.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hickory

                                                                                                                                                I'm enjoying the chai right now, too. Very nice blend of spices and not overpowered by any one of them.

                                                                                                                                              2. YAY -

                                                                                                                                                Jumbo cinnamon rolls - I popped one in the oven this morning because I couldn't resist them anymore and they are quite good, well at least I think so since I inhaled it in less than a few minute. I'm not much for sweets in general but anything cinnamon flavored is usually a winner for me. The roll was just sweet enough, not overly sweet but I didn't use the icing.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                  Fldhky your review has swayed me to give the cinnamon rolls a try the next time I have a taste for them. Thank you for mentioning that they are sweet but not overly so...sounds perfect to me!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                    They definitely worked for me but I don't eat many sweets so not much to compare them to. I will admit Sunday night I woke up randomly at 3 am popped one out of the freezer, left it on the sheet pan to warm up while I preheated the oven, baked, gobbled and fell back to sleep. The center cinnamon part is my favorite. If you remember, I'd love to know what you think.

                                                                                                                                                2. Yay to their frozen croissants! All of them! (chocolate, pumpkin, almond, and supposedly plain but my TJs never has plain.) But almond is my fave. In San Diego they are the best I can find except for one bakery (Bread and Cie), which is a half hour from my house.

                                                                                                                                                  Nay to their salted chocolate cashew brittle and their sea salt caramels (think both were christmas season only anyway). Meh.

                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alegramarcel

                                                                                                                                                    I've tried both the almond and chocolate TJ's croissants. At the bakery, almond croissants are usually my favorite, but I think the TJ's chocolate are better than the almond. I do love how easy they are to bake up and have fresh hot croissants, as long as I remember to take them out of the freezer the night before. I bake them on parchment and they come out perfectly in my convection toaster oven.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Wondergirl_lolo

                                                                                                                                                      I love my convection toaster oven for these also wondergirl. I think I have one package of pumpkin croissants stashed in my freezer too. The convection toaster oven makes my brownies turn out really well also.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                        What convection toaster oven do you have? Thinking of purchasing one and agree they would be great for baking up things like TJ's croissants.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alegramarcel

                                                                                                                                                      Just try the croissants for the first time yesterday. Love them except I hated that the almond filling ooze out instead of staying in.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                        Try the chocolate. I had the almond ones this morning and didn't live them. I have never had the chocolate ooze out.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BeachCookie107

                                                                                                                                                          I want to try the chocolate ones but we don't eat a lot of chocolate in my family so it wouldn't be a hit here. But I did buy the plain and the Kouign amann and will do so maybe this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BeachCookie107

                                                                                                                                                            My experience has been just the opposite. Chocolate oozes, pumpkin oozes, almond does not. And I like those best.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                            I baked off two last weekend and the almond filling oozed out on one, but not the other.

                                                                                                                                                        2. NAY on the canned clams. I wasn't sure what to do with them and finally decided on a quick beer batter and fry. I'm glad this was my choice so I only wasted a little flour and beer. The flavor was not very good and there was an enormous about of connective tissue.

                                                                                                                                                          Another NAY on the New Zealand cheddar and the Wisconsin cheddar...not because of taste but because I didn't realize they were not vacuum packed and, as a result, I opened my cheese drawer to see two bricks of mold. Boy does that tick me off. I should have opened my eyes and seen they were just plastic wrapped. If I had realized that, I would have vacuum sealed them myself when I arrived home. I hope they'll give me my money back. I don't have the receipt anymore so we'll see.

                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                            You don't need a receipt just bring them back if you have the wrapping.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                TJ's has the most lenient return policy of anywhere. I opened a jar of marmalade about a year ago and it had obviously not been sealed properly (or opened by a previous customer) it was covered in mold and stunk to high heaven. I made a beeline to the trash. Next time I was in TJ's, I mentioned it to a manager. He said nothing, but when I reached the checkout, the same manager suddenly appeared with 2 jars of marmalade in bag which he slipped in my cart and told the checker it was "n/c". Actually this sort of thing is quite typical at TJ's, and one of the reasons I like shopping there. They also encourage customers to try new products and bring them back with no questions if they're not liked.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                  Yea, they will hunt you down. I had a similar issue with a jar of peanut sauce which was open when I got home and they just told me to toss it. I actually have a few returns, open jar of sauce and several rotten veggies. I hate to bring them all at once but I keep the receipts in my insulated grocery bag but keeping making trips to TJs without it so will have to bring them all at once next time I make a planned trip or just put the darn bag in my trunk. I've made it a practice to keep all TJs receipts just in case. However, I've had a few things like rotten cheese, etc when I didn't have the receipt and they refunded with no questions asked. I still shop there weekly so something must be working.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                    I had a funky watermelon over the summer and there was noooo way i was hauling that thing around town before going another 30blocks to TJs. I took a photo on my phone that showed their produce sticker and the yucky watermelon. The staff was almost relieved i didn't bring them rotten fruit! Non issue and got a replacment

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, the basic policy is that you MUST have a receipt for Alcohol & Vitamins Returns but its not really needed for other items. Helpful and great if you have it, but not really necessary.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                              I was impressed with the flavor of the clams, as canned clams go. But they were quite tough, and a bit gritty. I think the amount of heat needed to can clams is already enough to overcook them. I put mine in a simple chowder, adding them right at the end.

                                                                                                                                                            2. YAY: Fully Cooked Bone-In Pork Loin Roast- I hesitated at first purchasing this but have already bought and used another one. Each roast contained 5 huge pork chops, and even though I chose to microwave it the pork turned out perfectly "cooked". I hope this isnt seasonal but have a feeling it is!

                                                                                                                                                              1. i've been meaning to post this to one of these threads for a few months now but kept forgetting, so i'm not sure if someone else already has. Yay to the Daniele charcuterie packs - in particular the Gourmet Spanish Combo Pack - described in TJ's' Fearless Flyer thusly: "...includes equal amounts of Salchichón Salame, a subtly smoky and smooth-tasting salami made with white wine; Del Duca Jamón Serrano, a Spanish-style ham that's dry-cured for a minimum of seven months; and Chorizo Cantimpalo, lean and coarsely ground sausage that gets its smoky-spiced flavor from Spanish paprika."

                                                                                                                                                                My favorite is the cantimpalo - it's fabulous. eat it as a snack, on crackers, with cheese, or slice it up thin and added to scrambled eggs.... delish. but all three are good.

                                                                                                                                                                Yay also to the Red Leicester.
                                                                                                                                                                and the Tarte d'Alsace.

                                                                                                                                                                i have many yays, but can't think of them all now.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Yay: coconut cashews- so addictive!
                                                                                                                                                                  Nay: sesame cashews - sesame seeds tasted rancid

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Trader Joe's posted (and sent out an email about) their "2013 Top 25 Customer Favourite Products".

                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.traderjoes.com/productstor...

                                                                                                                                                                    In case anyone has trouble with the link . . . or just doesn't feel like clicking:

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Triple Ginger Snaps
                                                                                                                                                                    2. Speculoos Cookie Butter
                                                                                                                                                                    3. Joe Joe’s Cookies (All Varieties
                                                                                                                                                                    )4. Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole
                                                                                                                                                                    5. Charles Shaw Wine (All Varieties)
                                                                                                                                                                    6. Pumpkin Coffee *
                                                                                                                                                                    7. Mac ‘n Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                    8. Pumpkin Butter *
                                                                                                                                                                    9. Almond Butter (All Varieties)
                                                                                                                                                                    10. Pumpkin Pecan Instant Oatmeal *
                                                                                                                                                                    11. Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
                                                                                                                                                                    12. Fennel Bulbs *
                                                                                                                                                                    13. Cranberry Goat Cheese Log *
                                                                                                                                                                    14. Harvest Blend Herbal Tea *
                                                                                                                                                                    15. Pound Plus Chocolate Bar (Milk & Dark)
                                                                                                                                                                    16. Almond Cocoa Spread
                                                                                                                                                                    17. Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix *
                                                                                                                                                                    18. Rosemary Marcona Almonds
                                                                                                                                                                    19. Corn & Chili Pepper Salsa
                                                                                                                                                                    20. Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels
                                                                                                                                                                    21. Chocolate Orange Sticks
                                                                                                                                                                    22. Pesto Gouda
                                                                                                                                                                    23. Mandarin Orange Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                    24. Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip
                                                                                                                                                                    25. This Cranberry Walks Into a Bar… *

                                                                                                                                                                    *Seasonal item

                                                                                                                                                                    32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                      This list sort of surprised me. Anyone else?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                        Surprised the Rosemary & Raisin crackers aren't on the list.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                          Real surprised. If the Mac n Cheese is the Reduced Guilt variety, I can say I've had one thing on the list. Otherwise, nada! There are a couple things I'm planning on trying because of recommendations people have made here, but most of the stuff on this list will never be on my favs list.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                            I've had exactly one thing on this list - the Mac & Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                              changing the subject:) -recently was in fresh markets and they had beecher's mac and cheese (frozen) at an embarrassingly high price,so i figured to treat myself and stop wondering (in the future) if it could possibly be that good-well i bought the one with roasted poblanos and chicken added. I figured i would probably never get it again. Darn it was that good- I will probably (sigh) definitely get it again

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                                                                                They had it in my Costco so I bought it, not tried it yet. It's a 2 pack for about $13.50. Just mac and cheese. What is Beecher's anyway, a restaurant?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                  Beecher's is a cheese maker. Based in Seattle, though now with a branch in NYC. Their Flagship cheese is so good!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                                                                    I recently found a wedge of Beecher's Flagship at half price in a Seattle supermarket. Tried it side-by-side with some Tillamook, which is a pretty popular dairy co-op in the Pacific Northwest. The difference in taste is striking. Tillamook's fine, but the Flagship is noticeably better. It's good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you by any chance thanking about the Fresh Market in Hingham Ma?

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                Surprised - very. I'm not much of a "sweets" person (or pumpkin - blah) so with the exception of just a couple of items, that list is completely lost on me. Of the many things from TJ's I adore, that list just doesn't resonate. But as long as the "other stuff" I like is available..... I give that list a big "Whatever!"

                                                                                                                                                                                From the list: I tried the Pesto Gouda. It was OK, so therefore a Meh. So many exciting TJ's cheeses, but that's not one. I have the Chili Lime Chicken Burgers in the freezer but just haven't gotten around to them yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                  The fennel bulb surprised me because I hadn't ever noticed it and we LOVE fennel bulbs.
                                                                                                                                                                                  EDIT: I see it is a seasonal item and we only got to TJ's twice last fall-winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                    Fennel Bulbs are not totally seasonal... they just have them when they are in season, which is a good part of the year... I love them too and they are a great deal at TJs....

                                                                                                                                                                                    --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                  I also am kind of surprised. Personally the garlic-marinated mushrooms are all that really matter to me, but I suppose I will have to branch out and try some of these items listed... because although I've shopped there for a while, I just never considered some. At all.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also.. you would think TJoes would take a hint.. 8 out of 25 items are seasonal. Maybe just make them year-round?! Although I know the rare-factor is gone, "just give the lady what she wants."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                    I love those mushrooms and I love that you declare them as "all that really matter to me." I bought 2 jars last week but hid them so I would forget about them and thus consume them less quickly. If they are in sight, the jar just joins me and a fork :) I actually ran out and was going to Whole Foods daily for mushrooms and after a few days I was tired of paying $4 for 8 small mushrooms so made a special trip to TJs with the primary goal to acquire more mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought a jar yesterday. Didn't really wow me initially, but somehow over the course of the day, I ate the whole jar. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                        We only have one TJ's and it's on the other side of town, so I think I may pick up some fresh mushrooms and heat them in the leftover marinade and see how that turns out.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                        The first thing I noticed? The once beloved #1 ranked Mandarin Orange Chicken fell all the way to #23 - not at all surprise to me. The quality of it seemed to drop last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                          I bought another bag of the Mandarin Orange Chicken to give it one more try. This will be try #3 (I am still holding out hope) and will report back what I think of it this time around.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've only tasted a few of these but I am shocked that the Orange Chicken is on there. I'm not sure what it is but it ain't chicken!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Surprised at RG Guac too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          You guys seem to love hummus and that's nowhere on this list.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Tasted the Chili Lime Burgers - I prefer the plain ones myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                          They prob make it up so they can sell more of these "favorites"...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                                            Umm, that Guac making the list might be our fault...we eat a LOT of it. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kt1969

                                                                                                                                                                                              :) tastes differ - I've bought it a couple of times and really tried to like it...

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think I'm in the minority - I'm scared that I'll be stoned if I add my thoughts on the Kringle...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kt1969

                                                                                                                                                                                                i think i helped you out - i love the stuff!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kt1969

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just picked this up today, excited to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Employees have told me that the orange chicken is easily and consistently their biggest seller in the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I believe the orange chicken is loaded with calories, fat, sugar and salt............not that there's anything wrong with that -- if it's delicious!!! But my recollection is that we didn't like the quality and taste of the meat. So, we've never tried it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pugsam

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Quite honestly, I'm not a big fan. The meat's not the best and the sauce was ultra-sweet. But it's been a top seller for years (there seems to always be a sign on it saying "our best seller!" at my store) so folks shouldn't be shocked that it's on the list this year, too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's been a hit-or-miss item w/ me lately. Most bags are fine, but every once in awhile I'll get a bag that has small pieces that are more breading than chicken. I do still buy it b/c my 10-yo loves it and when I'm rushing to get dinner on the table and haven't given a thought to dinner till we walk in the door, it's a no-brainer (like tonight!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've only tried it once and I wasn't impressed. Lots of breading, not much chicken and like many brands of orange chicken, there's not really much orange flavor. I'm always amazed that people love Panda Express orange chicken, because it has no orange flavor at all and if you look at the bottled sauce, it doesn't even have any type of orange in the ingredients. I think the orange chicken from Costco is much better in terms of flavor and larger pieces of chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love Panda but have never been a fan of their orange chicken. Interesting re Costco, though - I've never tried it and will have to pick up some on my next trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 out of 25 here: pound plus dark chocolate; fennel (far less than even my bargain supermarket); and, of course, the mac and cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                    None of those I voted for have made this list, and the only thing on it that I've actually tried is #25 - which didn't have enough cranberry for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Meh: The Greek sheeps-milk feta in brine. I know this feta has its fans on this board, and I had such high hopes for it b/c I love love love feta. But this tasted more like goat cheese (due to the sheep's milk, I'm sure) to me than feta - at least the "American" feta that I'm used to, such as the Athenos brand. I also *love* goat cheese, but it has its place and when I'm expecting the taste of feta in a dish, I don't want to taste goat cheese instead. I've used about half the package so far in a Greek barley/cuke/tomato salad for lunches this week, and I'll use up the rest, but not a repeat purchase for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also had a heck of a time getting the tub open. There is a little corner that you're supposed to break off. Well I did that, and then for the life of me could not get the lid off after many frustrating attempts. I finally used my chef's knife to cut a large square out of the lid of the container, and transferred the cheese and brine to another container.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                      HeyImBack, you've touched on something I've been tempted to rant about for some time. It seems that SEVERAL brands of feta are enclosed in containers which I nearly hurt myself trying to open. Is it a (bad) Greek packaging phenomenon? It's definitely not just a Trader Joe's issue. Feta seems to either want to harm you, or at least make you angry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I mean I've employed pliers, Vise-Grips, chisels, M-80's and other items from the tool-box and not the kitchen to open certain fetas. Sometime I feel like I'm risking a trip to the emergency room just to open some feta-in-brine products. I'm strong and dexterous yet sometimes have such trouble with Greek feta containers, but I don't hear others complaining about it until you mentioned it. Now at least I know I'm not alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dave B

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's really easy to open with just your fingers if you know how. After breaking off the corner tab, the lid lifts very easily at that corner but you must look for the seam to see where it separates. I LOVE the Greek Feta in brine. It's identical to that we ate every day when staying in an apartment in Nafplion, Greece

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I admit it's among the more resistant containers but if you pull at the corner between the two lips of plastic it clicks open.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good to know. I likely won't be buying it again, but I'll at least be aware to look for that seam on other similar containers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Dave B

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am also glad to know this has happened to someone else, too. I really felt I was risking injury using the method I did, but darn if I wasn't going to get that thing open.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know it's crazy…they should offer some directions…but when you see how to do it, it's ridiculously simple and you'll feel silly at not having figured it out. I practically put a power saw to it the first time, and now it's child's play!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Yay - Butterscotch iced cupcakes w/caramel drizzle

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay - Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate - it just tastes like cheap coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was a little disappointed with the cold brew also. I got so excited when I saw it a few days before Christmas. You're right, tastes like someone mixed some water and Folgers crystals and bottled it for $8. Wish I could find one I liked for fast lattes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Somewhere between a yay and a meh for enchilada sauce and corn tortillas. Only meh because I'd rather make my own enchilada sauce but for a convenience food, this is ok. The corn tortillas - I wish I hadn't buried the wrapper so I could be more informative. I remember they were described as corn and flour on the wrapper and I thought there were supposed to be 8 but there were 7. Taste-wise they were fine. They were kind of thick so almost all the enchiladas were breaking before I got them into the casserole dish. If I was using these for something other than a casserole that was ultimately being drenched in sauce and cheese, these would be getting a huge nay. Since it was a casserole, by the time it was baked the tortillas had calmed themselves down into their proper tubular shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And yay for the organic black beans in a can. These are a staple in my house. I prefer cooking my own from dried beans but these are always great to have on hand. They are not mushy like typical supermarket brands and hold up well in soups, casseroles and salads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like you would also like the frozen vegetable burritos with black beans, corn, and tomatoes, if you haven't tried them already. They are very flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've tried those and have really mixed feelings. If it's a day when I'm starving and super lazy, I love them. If I'm not particularly hungry and just eating because it's the right thing to do, they don't usually thrill me so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really like those tortillas (the Abuelita), but (as with all corn tortillas) I steam them before making them into enchiladas (or soft tacos). Actually, I usually grill them a bit directly on my gas burner. I think the Abuelita are softer than most all-corn tortillas I've had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll have to check on my next trip and see if that's the brand I had. If not, I'll give the A's a try. I did steam these first, but they were pretty thick so I'm not sure any amount of steaming would have kept them from cracking. Flavor was good though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I tried the miso ginger broth for the first time and give it a yay. I made a simple soup with the frozen veggie gyoza, some random veggies that needed to be used up, and green onion on top after cooking. I'll be buying it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmacd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hmm... they were sampling the miso ginger broth at my store a couple of visits ago, and I found it rather bland... but others here liked it..... hmm.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. yay to tj's red grapefruits,even if they are only the size of a softball.bought the 3# bag (non-organic).very juicy and (relatively) thin skin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. A few rare nays here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hobo bread- kinda of dry, not much actual flavor to it and even toasted with some earth balance didn't improve much.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - whole grain salad with chickpeas, prepared salad for about $5. Dried out shredded cabbage, some bulgar, chickpeas.....just kind of blah.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And wtf a serving is 1/2 the container? I'm still cranky because it wasn't so great and i had the whole salad when i realized i ate "2" servings and wasted 700 calories!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The hobo bread I've gotten several times from the local TJ's is quite moist - more so than Boston brown bread, which it resembles - and full of flavor. Unless there's a regional difference, I'd guess you got a poor batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Check the date on the hobo bread. What I bought was moist, too. Try it with cream cheese!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've done that! I was really p'd off!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The salad said 240 cals with dressing and I though - great, that's all I need for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            THEN I realised the 240 was for HALF the container! The other salad calories are all 1 serving - this was for 2. Who the bloody hell wants to waste 480 cals on a salad! (mostly lettuce this salad by the way, which means the cals were in the dressing)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Watch out and read those labels folks. Many products are more than one serving and some salads including blue cheese can have up to 50 grams of fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Nay - orecchiette dried pasta. This is really a general nay for all orecchiette, not just TJ's. The darn things are all exactly the same shape, so they stick together in stacks. The larger stacks just don't cook. And the individual ones stick to the sides of the pot like little octopus suction cups. I thought they'd be a fun shape to try, but I'll stick with the other shapes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a wonderful orecchiette with veal and capers recipe that I make all the time. I use DeCecco orecchiette, throw it into a big pot of rapidly boiling salted water, give it a stir, and never have a problem with the pieces sticking together (oh...one or two may, but it's a non-issue)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, i'll try the DeCecco brand next time. Maybe their pieces aren't exactly the same so they don't stack up like the TJ's ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i like de cecco brand pasta generally, though i haven't tried their orechiette. i was going to say i esp. like their pappardelle nests, but i was thinking of colavita's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes! TJ's orecchiette sticks together horribly. Always lots of hard undercooked clumps of it amidst the properly cooked ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I'm in the minority here, but I like those hard undercooked clumps. And when I make shells, I'm always looking for the nesting shells that are clumped together. I'm weird that way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not that weird -- this may be why I like oriechiette so much; I like my pasta really chewy. I also prefer my butter hard and cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like some bite to my pasta, but the fact that this keeps it from all cooking at the same rate is bothersome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The subject of stuck-together orecchiette was brought up in the current issue of Cook's Illustrated as a featured recipe used that pasta shape as one of the possibilities. Their recommendation to help reduce/prevent the suctioning-together of orecchiette is to stir them frequently while they are cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This tip may help with orecchiette in general, but I suppose it could be possible that the TJ's product is for some reason more prone to sticking than other pasta brands. Shape? Flour formulation? Could be a fun/interesting test for someone who's really bored ;-0

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dave B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not an issue w/ DeCecco if water boiling vigorously and pot stirred.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dave B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for that information. I did stir it vigorously, and the water was boiling hard, but they still stuck. Heck, a lot of them were already stuck in stacks before they went into the water. So I think it has something to do with the TJ's ones in particular, especially from what josephnl says about DeCecco not sticking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Same here. I stir like crazy trying to break them up. I'm getting the DeCecco ones next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let me know if the De Cecco seems better to you. I think the key is rapidly boiling water and giving a good stir every few minutes. Some people put a splash of olive oil in the pasta water. I don't…it doesn't seem necessary, and I don't like the oily feel of the pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm no pasta expert, by any stretch of the imagination, but it sounds like the tj's may not have been properly dried at the factory before being packaged. wild guess. still fun to speculate, until some expert shoots me down. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was at the Italian store last night and took the opportunity to look at the brands of orecchiette they had there, including De Cecco. None of them were stacked up like the TJ's gets in the bag. Some of them looked handmade and not all exactly the same shape like TJ's are. And others, such as De Cecco, had little tiny ridges across the top which would allow some air and then water to get between them and keep them from adhering to each other. I think the TJ's orecchiette just have a design flaw that makes them stick together in stacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yay! We enjoyed the TJ's Cioppino for lunch today. Quick and easy. Jazzed it with a bit of hot sauce and Old Bay ('cause we like spicy), and a splash of French vermouth (just because!). Served over spaghetti, it was a low-calorie, low-fat delight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pugsam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I specifically looked for this today at TJs and it was nowhere to be found! I was afraid it had been discontinued but I guess not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope the Cioppino is not discontinued. We got it at our store in Virginia just a few days ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              got a package yesterday at the arlington, ma tjs, where it wasn't in with the frozen fish and seafood, but with the frozen prepared meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I got it today in Asheville NC where it was in the frozen fish/seafood area. Was glad to find it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pugsam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                970 mgs sodium per serving though? I'll pass....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is kind of odd.. but I keep them in the freezer because I find that the dark chocolate cover is quite refreshing when it is cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not odd at al! I keep all sorts of dark chocolate treats in the fridge. Might have to start keeping more in the freezer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Since there were YAYs for the reduced fat fish sticks, I tried, and like, them. The flavor skews toward bland, but they seem less salty than the megabrand versions, which is a plus for me. Also got their frozen fries, in hopes they were the same as those in the poitine. They're not AS good, but still better than other frozen fries, so another YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also YAY for the kouign amann. Great flavor. I have made two, on successive days. The rise isn't much, but the house IS chilly and I have not tried putting them in a VERY warm spot. I baked them as much for the kitchen heat as for a treat. Happily they still had plenty of pumpkin croissants (Burlington, MA) so I snagged two more packages of this seasonal masterpiece. Alas, no kringle but I really wasn't expecting to see them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree the fish sticks are bland but I'm okay with that in a fish stick. I feel like I should call the store and have them order me a case every month. My grandsons (8 & 11) love them and they make for a healthier (albeit a little odd) snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Re the fish sticks, pick up a bottle of TJ Sweet Chili Sauce and use it as a dip. It makes fish sticks taste like you' re in a Thai restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I use the sweet chili sauce on their frozen samosas - good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are even better if, after baking them through, you broil them to add some crunch to the top.Even better!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Yea - Sweet Potato Frites (frozen). Heated up in the toaster oven following instructions, they're crisp and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yay: dried slices of baby pineapple. These were really good and not too sweet like a lot of their dried fruits because there was no added sugar. Serving size was 1/4 of the bag, but everyone who tried a piece thought they could easily munch through a whole bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I just tried the triple cream brie with wild mushrooms warmed and on a baguette. Way way waaaaaaaaaaaaay too salty. I had to throw the whole thing out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. For those of you who enjoyed the Red Leicester cheese back in the fall, I picked up some today at Aldi. I'm not sure it's the same as what you got earlier, it's made by Kerrygold. Looking forward to trying it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess this is somewhat on topic with this thread since Aldi's is sort of in the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I bought a package of the Korean scallion pancakes tonight. It wasn't easy to find them, though. They were stocked with the breakfast items! An associate found them for me. I'm looking forward to tasting them, but unfortunately the store was out of the Korean sliced shortribs, so our Korean dinner (including the kimchi fried rice) will be postponed a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Does TJs have ground veal and ground pork? I want to make some meatballs and meatloaf and I like to use equal parts beef, veal and pork. I've never looked for it so I'm wondering if anyone else has seen it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hars52, they don't. i have seen ground beef and ground turkey. i think there's ground chicken, but not certain. i get my ground pork at sprouts (i know they aren't everywhere) or more often, grind my own in my food processor. that way i know what i'm getting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chez cherie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like to grind my own too but the seal on my kitchenaid grinder decided to leak. I have my grandmothers old hand grinder so I guess I can use that. I don't like the texture so much from "grinding" in my food processor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do love TJs grass fed ground beef in the freezer case. Consistently good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Most market meat counters here will custom grind any meat you want to your order. I've never ground meat at home, and see no reason to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not the case here. I can go to one of two locally owned meat markets and get anything I want, but every other meat source is either a national or regional chain. I was shocked when I went to the regional Giant Eagle and asked them to do something...I don't recall what I needed but it was something a butcher counter should have been able to handle...and I was told they aren't allowed to do anything other than preside over the meat case. Weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nevertheless, I prefer to grind my own for the primary reason that I then know exactly what is in the grind. It wasn't so much an e-coli or fat issue. I just got tired of paying for ground meat that had gristle or chips of bone. I'm that person that always gets the random particle...hair, eggshell, fishbone. I don't eat much meat as it is and I'm easily put off, so what I do put in my mouth better be clutter-free or I won't be able to stomach something similar for months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm the same way about finding weird bits in my food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So glad to hear I have company. I feel like I'm getting more neurotic as I get older. Well, I am! But I enjoy having company on my journey!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can go to the local Gelson's Market, select whatever meat I want from the meat counter and have them grind it to order (fine, medium, course) in a grinder that is rinsed out between uses. I thought this was available everywhere!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Used to be here - could also buy a roast, take it home and cook it and bring it back to have it sliced for sandwiches. We used to have lots of roast beef sandwiches back then, hot and cold. I won't buy deli roast beef and have yet to find a good review on a non-commercial meat slicer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Those days have passed :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, that's incredible! I wish that was still an option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funny...I just select the exact meat I want, then ask the butcher to grind it. At most, it will take 10 minutes (they wash the grinder between each use). I know exactly what I'm getting, and it's ground to my specifications (fine, regular or chili grind)! This is at the Gelson's Market where I usually shop. I always assumed that any market would do this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have never had a butcher refuse to grind meat. This week my market has sirloin tip roast on sale for $2.99 lb while ground chuck is $4.99. I always buy solid meat and have them grind it while I wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i asked once at harris teeter's for the butcher to grind some pork, and he said they could/would not do it through the same machines they do beef. no luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps you'd have better luck if you went just before closing. They have to clean their equipment at the end of the day, and could do the pork last. Discuss this possibility with the store manager to find out if they will do it, and at what time they start cleaning grinders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. YAY - Hollandaise Sauce, I've read positive reviews here and on other threads. I picked it up yesterday in my random wanderings, I felt odd walking out with only a few items so decided to try out a few new things. It was the star of dinner tonight mixed with bacon and garlic served over herb baked turkey breast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. YAY: Buttermilk Biscuits (refrigerator section in a can) - they baked up perfectly, a little golden brown crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I put a small pat of butter in the center of the biscuit dough and wrapped the dough around the butter (similar to a rustic tart but completely encased) and then reshaped. This really added to the butteriness of the biscuit and turned out very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              YAY/MEH: Frozen Seasoned Rack of Lamb - yay for the quality of the lamb (delicious) but I did think that the seasoning on the outside was a bit too strong and overshadowed the taste of the lamb. I will definitely go back and purchase the unseasoned frozen rack of lamb the next time. The price was not too bad at all - 12.99/pd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NAY: Columbus Honey Turkey Breast Deli Meat - I opened up the package and it had a strange odor to it. This was returned and I stuck with my reliable Applegate Farms Roasted Turkey Breast (always a winner).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow really 12.99/lb that's a steak for lamb. Thanks for reporting on the seasoned rack, I almost bought it last time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed about seasoning too heavy but the fresh product tastes old old old. Just wash the seasoning off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you so much for your suggestion - I decided to give the frozen seasoned rack of lamb another go around this time first washing most of the seasoning off first and it turned out perfectly! What a relatively inexpensive, easy, and impressive main dish offered at Trader Joes. 30 min. at 400F for medium to medium rare and dinner is done. Huge yay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Is this the one in the refrigerated section?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Frozen. My Trader Joes does have an unseasoned french cut rack of lamb but I personally have not tried it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. anyone ever seen the black truffle olive oil?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes. They had it several years ago. It disappeared, but came back last year (summer?), then vanished, but was back again in November/December.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes. My guess is that it's seasonal. I saw it sometime around thanksgiving this (past) year, but I didn't pick it up. When I asked about it the next time I was in the store, they said it was "done"... and sure enough, I haven't seen it since. Perhaps they only get one shipment of certain items?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. A post from a CH thread on hummus:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gastronomos 28 minutes ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      one can of TJ's Cuban style black beans in the blender and the most authentic hummus becomes a reality

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        not to second guess gastronomos' tastes (and i love black beans), but hummus' "authenticity" is not from black beans. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        speaking of black beans, i am doctoring up a can today with some onion, cumin, oregano and bell pepper to serve with rice. green onions chopped on top, with a splash of vinegar!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the purist, this is true, but a lot of the posts on that thread are including mashed legumes. I think hummus is taking on the same nomenclature as Kleenex for tissue and google for web-search. I certainly don't mind when my son-in-law asks me to make my "garlic scape hummus" instead of the real recipe name "White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anything else in those black beans in the way of something wet? Sounds delish and I've never splashed vinegar on a bean/rice dish before. What kind of vinegar?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think you are right on hummus becoming like Kleenex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sounds weird when one states it that way. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            funny thing about legumes: reading peter mayle's "a year in provence," a provençal native called the big wigs from paris the "grosses légumes." love it. i think i'll adopt that term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            anyhow, here's the deal on the easy cuban black beans (it really is easy, despite my lengthy instructions):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            use a medium size sauce pot and sauté to soften in a glug of extra virgin olive oil:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. chopped bell peppers (i used 3-4 of the small red and yellow ones i get from trader joe's). (this amount would equal about ½-¾ C regular bell pepper -- green is traditionally used).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. diced red or any onion -- maybe ¼-½ medium onion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. season that veggie mix with a dash of oregano & thyme, some garlic of any sort (fresh minced, or granulated or good ol' garlic powder) and a ½ teaspoon (to start) ground cumin (we like cumin and one could easily add a full teaspoon). let the spices cook in the oil and veggie moisture to "bloom".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. dump in can of black beans (liquid and all), and add in some pico de gallo or fresh salsa (from the produce area) -- maybe ½ cup (more if you want).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. heat together …and bob's your uncle (or roberto es tu tío).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            we had some leftover seasoned rice and so i added it in to make "moros y cristianos" -- the black beans and rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. to serve, put in bowl and put on top of the beans 1-2 Tablespoons of the onion garnish: (traditionally, i use chopped yellow or white onion, and a splash of plain vinegar)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yesterday, i used instead: minced red onion, chopped bell peppers, chopped green onions, tender greens included, having let it all sit for a while in apple cider vinegar). you can use any kind of vinegar…we grew up (SW FLORIDA) using plain old white vinegar..and that is just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in a nod to enhanced nutrition, i served the beans and rice over a baby arugula/spinach salad dressed with a touch of hazelnut oil (just cause i COULD; no oil needed). traditionally, cuban beans are served on plain white rice (unless you've made the mixture).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in a nod to using up stuff in the fridge, i added a small dollop of sour cream on top of the beans and before the garnish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            essentially: a can of beans cooked with some pepper, onion, tomato and spices. easy peasy. and surprisingly satisfying and delicious. (you can put in a little minced bacon or pork to start out, too, but our vegetarian version was great as is).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            traditionally in the south, too, we splash vinegar on beans of any sort, and cooked greens -- vinegar or hot sauce. texas pete's pepper vinegar is a classic. i love cholula hot sauce, either original, chili-lime, or chili-garlic version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best thing about Texas Pete's sport peppers in vinegar: Once you drain the vinegar from the bottle, you can refill it several times before the peppers lose their potency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yes -- they last for about 3 refills…then the pete's peppers peter out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm confused. Is it the vinegar that you use and replace, rather than the peppers? Do you not eat the peppers? What do you use the peppery vinegar for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pepper vinegar is basically pickled peppers and it is the flavored vinegar that is used just as any vinegar or hot sauce would be, although you could also use the peppers themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It helps to heat the vinegar first if you are going to reuse the peppers or make your own. I think it usually has salt in it, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pepper vinegar is indispensable on any kind of greens (turnip, mustard, collards, cabbage, kale, etc.) and for black-eyed peas but people use it on almost anything--and some people use it on everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In some places in the South, pepper vinegar is simply referred to as "hot sauce" or "hot vinegar sauce" and red hot sauce is referred to as "Tabasco sauce."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You replace the vinegar!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PS if you want to sound like a southerner or a Chicagoan (I'm neither) you call them sport peppers. If you've ever had a Chicago-style hot dog with all the toppings (AKA through the garden), you've eaten a sport pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For decades we had a small shop in downtown pittsburgh that sold chicago-style hotdogs and fries. That was it. The guy, Yovi, was an import from Chicago and he was a nice version of the Soup Nazi. He was friendly, but don't even think about asking for anything other than a dog and fries. If you didn't like a topping, pick it off yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've never been to Chicago long enough to grab a dog but these were fantastic and I was assured by many Chicago natives that they were authentic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh I think I have an alkapal crush. This sounds so good, and I really appreciate you taking the time to give the details.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So that vinegar concept is so new to me (yankee :-P). I made hoppin john over the weekend so I'm going to try splashing some vinegar on that because, frankly, I'm not lovin' the HJ, even though it's an Emiril recipe and everyone rated it really high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pull out the apple cider or malt vinegar and hot sauce! I made black eyed pea soup yesterday with spinach just for the douse of spicy vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <blushing>…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      is this the emeril recipe? http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      if so, i see that it does not specify the amount of salt needed, which of course is going to change depending on the saltiness of your ham hock. so, i'd suggest a possible "fix": you may want to nuke a bowl-size portion and then add a little salt -- often, that is what is needed to perk up the flavor. black eyed peas take a good amount of salt in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      also, i think the peas should crush easily up against the side of the pot (but not be mushy)….so depending on the age of your dried peas, 40 minutes may not have been enough. i like using the frozen black eyed peas, but the dried are a better value (and a different flavor). both are good. in the summer (well…anytime) i love a black eyed pea salad with a spicy lime-vinaigrette and peppers, onions, cumin, cilantro, pico de gallo, cholula. without adding oil (which is optional) it is guilt-free and very satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, that's the recipe. I followed it pretty close except I used 2 ham hocks and I forgot it was on the stove and by the time I remembered, the original 1 qt of stock was nearly gone so I added another. My initial thought was that it didn't have much ham flavor so I added a tablespoon of ham soup base. Even then , I thought it was kind of lackluster so I added leftover Christmas ham (shredded). You're absolutely right about the salt. That helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only thing that bothers me about it is that it has what I can only describe as a kind of musky taste. Is that the black eyed peas? Maybe it's the sage?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I tried apple cider vinegar on my hoppin' john tonight. I tried just a tiny bit - like a drop - on a spoonful first and it tasted good so I splashed ...boy did I splash! It was too much, but just by a hair. I definitely made the bowl brighter and better...no longer had that musky quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm now on the hunt for some Texas Pete's :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're on the hunt for greatness! Apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar with Texas Pete or Louisiana hot sauce is a dream meal for me. I've been making collards or black eyed peas at least every 4 days since New Year's because it reminded me how much I love the combination and it works so well with both of those foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sherry vinegar on black beans or lentils=yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just bought the Cuban style black beans this week. I'm excited to give them a try and perhaps I'll just whiz them in the blender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh good! Looking forward to your review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        These beans are amazing! I will be buying more cans this week. I probably won't use a full can at a time, do you think they would freeze well? Or store in the fridge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It depends on how quickly you are going to use them... If within a few days they'll do fine in the fridge. But if longer then beans do very well in the freezer...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for this tip! I have a hard time using up a can of beans by myself before they go off. I never thought to freeze them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              These TJs threads are great for yays, nays, and helpful hoorays! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For plain unseasoned canned beans used in salads, I like to rinse them and then put them in the brine left over from a can of olives. They last well over a week, stay firm, and have a nice flavour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well said chinchi! Everyone on this thread is so helpful with suggestions and tips. I know that everyone has their own individual tastes and take on things, but 9 times out of 10 the reviews are spot on, and have caused me to try things I never would have before plus avoid ones that I was thinking of purchasing if there are multiple meh/nays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I use a Foodsaver to extend the life of everything. I may have already said this somewhere?? There is a jar accessory that let's me vacuum seal anything in a jar. Works much better and is way cheaper than the bags. It has paid for itself many times over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great idea! I got a food saver did Christmas and it's still in the box :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You'll definitely want to get the jar accessory then. They aren't much. There is a wide mouth one and a regular size. They say you have to boil the lid before sealing and sometimes I do but sometimes I just boil several and put them in a drawer so their handy when I need them. If the lid doesn't seal, it sometimes helps to put two lids on the jar, vacuum it and then take the top lid off before putting on the band. I have no idea why that makes a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you ever have questions, just pm me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I prep most of my fresh veggies (celery, carrots, peppers, etc.) citrus (cut in wedges if they won't fit through), cheeses...the list is endless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't use the bags for anything really juicy (like soup, chili) without freezing it in the bag first. The juice will get sucked into the machine. Not good. I hardly ever use the bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Food sealed in the jars lasts a long time. I've had soups, meats, cheeses last weeks...don't know about longer because they get eaten (I should do an experiment). I've had celery and carrots last even longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great thanks, good to know. I have the handheld attachment but will have to get the jar attachment as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry...IMHO the Cuban black beans are ok, but certainly nothing special. The beans themselves were moderately creamy and well cooked, but the can contained at least 1/3 liquor which was pretty bland and flavorless. With some salt, a heavy grind of pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar they were pretty good but in no way exceptional. I'll probably buy another can to keep in the pantry to use in a pinch, but IMHO they're just ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a similar direction, TJ's Latin Black Bean Soup (in a carton) is excellent. I'm not above adding a little sherry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. HUGE YAY: Almond Croissants- The heavenly aroma coming from the oven was in itself amazing, then I took a bite...words can't begin to describe how good these are. What took me so long to give these a try?? Phenomenallly good and did not find them too sugary at all, making them a wonderful choice as a breakfast pastry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The filling is very good. I'm a chocoholic but like the almond ones just as much as the chocolate version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're all delish. Does anyone brush them with an egg wash per the instructions to make them look prettier? We never do…the taste is really great right out of the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The chocolate ones are the only ones that I am a little hesitant to try because in past experiences usually anything chocolate filled turns out to be a little too sweet/rich for my taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The chocolate croissants are not overtly sweet. They use a bittersweet chocolate that's rather good. Rich…we're talking very buttery croissants here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mm, I just bought these over the weekend - I can't wait to try them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smile - good point. I guess I am just one of those rare ones that can only handle a little bit of chocolate without being overwhelmed by its sweetness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not all chocolate is that sweet. I'd consider that in the TJ's croissants to be bittersweet. They're delicious. I'd suggest trying them when you have someone who'll share them with you. You could always cut away some of the chocolate, but I bet you won't!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a bittersweet chocolate, not too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hacked the mini plain croissant, by shoving a piece of the frozen chocolate covered banana in it before baking. I felt a bit less guilty because of the smaller size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gnomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Try shoving a French dark chocolate truffle (the red trapezoidal box) and a Turkish apricot into the mini before baking. Rest in peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hadn't bought the almond croissants for a while. We're so hooked on the chocolate or even the plain mini ones which we often have on Sunday morning with some smoked salmon and eggs. So...bought some almond croissants and had them for breakfast today. They are really wonderful. There's definitely something about enjoying the aroma coming from the oven, and eating any TJ's croissants fresh out of the oven, that very few cafés can match...well maybe in Paris! For here, TJ's croissants are really hard to top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Does anyone know of a way to cut down the amount of time they suggested for the proofing process? I often find myself wanting to have a croissant at times that I hadn't anticipated, thus have not taken them out of the freezer. I tried cooking a few extra at each time but they definitely turn stale way too fast to have them sitting around already baked up for over a few hours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Search this page for "SPEEDY PROOFING TECHNIQUES TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK." It's a little over halfway down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://agexted.cas.psu.edu/FCS/4hfl/S...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting...can see trying putting it on top of the refrigerator covered or putting it in a corfee can. Will experiment a bit thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cast iron pans conduct a lot of heat. It's how I defrost meat quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our oven has a "proofing" mode which allows setting the temperature between 85-100 degrees. I usually proof overnight in the oven at 85 degrees (during winter months when the house room temp is too cool), and the the croissants are perfect by morning. I have on occasion peeked in during the night, and they look pretty much ok after 5 hours or so. I would think that if you could proof at 100 degrees, they'd likely be fine in 4-5 hours. If you don't have a proofing mode, I wonder what would happen if you carefully defrosted them in the microwave, then put into an oven that had been previously been warmed and then turned off?? Others have suggested simply leaving the oven light on to keep the oven relatively warm. Just some ideas!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks both to you and fldhky for the suggestions. I will try these ideas out as well. I am surd there is a way around the 6 hr. Proofing process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Last weekend I proofed two almond croissants in a couple of hours by spritzing with a little water, covering with plastic wrap, and setting near a heat register. They turned out fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boil a large mug of water in the microwave. Leaving it in there, put the croissant in to proof. Check after a couple of hours, reheating just the water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's the method I use for letting bread rise, too. Works great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you mean that if they haven't risen sufficient