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Your Top 5 Trader Joe's Products? - 2014

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Products come and go and our taste buds change. What are the top 5 TJ products you can't live without? Here's mine...

1. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
2. Tomato Basil Marinara
3. Jarred Crushed Garlic
4. California Estate Olive Oil
5. Salsa Verde

Honorable Mentions of Non-Food Items:
1. Vitamin E Oil
2. Coconut Body Butter
3. "Greenie" Dog Treats

What are your favorites?

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  1. 2013 thread here... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891169

    2 Replies
    1. re: TXMandy

      Thank you for starting an updated version of this thread - I have already tried a couple of the recommendations out and can't wait to try more! Could you provide a link on the 2013 version to this new one? I think some people from the old version may not be aware that a new one has begun. TIA!!

      1. re: littleflower

        Thanks littleflower! Done.

    2. 1. Cretan Olive Oil
      2. Mushroom Turnovers
      3. Canned Corn
      4. Crème fraîche
      5. Buffalo Mozzarella

      1 Reply
      1. re: linguafood

        I have got to try the mushroom turnovers with all the great feedback! Also have to agree about the canned corn, it is the only one we buy now.

      2. 1: Salsa Autentica. My favorite storebought salsa (around here in New England, anyway), and a steal for the price.
        2: Almond Croissants. I can't believe I never even considered these until reading about them on CH.
        3: Kouign Amann
        4: Cheddar cheese - the specifics vary, but at any given time there's at least one fantastic cheddar at a better price than I can get elsewhere
        5: Frozen haricots verts - I don't know what it is about Trader Joe's, but some of their frozen vegetables are so much better than I can get elsewhere, which is a godsend in a climate with such a short growing season.

        2 Replies
        1. re: okaycheckitout

          the Kouign Amann is ridiculous. It is my friend's favorite too. I have two pumpkin croissants stashed in my freezer and am going to grab more almond and chocolate croissants soon. So all the rise and bake stuff. Haven't tried the plain croissants but I will get around to it.
          Puff pastry, pie crust, wide egg noodles and the decaf peppermint tea that is seasonal.

          1. re: okaycheckitout

            I should have added the salsa autentica to the verde! I always pick up both and love it.

          2. 1. Kimchee fried rice (frozen)
            2. Spanish olive oil
            3. Coconut cream (lotions)
            4. Pounder plus, dark chocolate
            5. Dark Chocolate peanut butter cups

            www.saffron215.blogspot.com

            7 Replies
            1. re: mcel215

              I enjoyed the kimchee fried rice, but my husband found it to spicy. More for me I guess ;-)

              1. re: mcel215

                I had heard the kimchee fried rice had been discontinued but the cashier said it was being "reformulated" and would be back soon.

                1. re: AmyH

                  I know Amy, it's been off the shelf for awhile now.... sigh!

                  www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                  1. re: mcel215

                    Hopefully they'll bring it back soon. It was so good on the side with the frozen kalbi beef shortribs and I'm sure it would have been wonderful with the spicy korean chicken sausages.

                    1. re: AmyH

                      Amy,

                      Are the spicy Korean chicken sausages frozen? Thanks.

                      And I totally agree, hopefully they will restock the the rice soon. :)

                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                      1. re: mcel215

                        They are in the refrigerated section with the other sausages, near the bacon and hot dogs.

                        1. re: mcel215

                          As fldhkybnva said, they're in the refrigerated meat section along the top with the other varieties of chicken sausages.

                2. The Delices de Bourgogne cheese--TO DIE FOR!!!
                  frozen Haricots verts
                  Chocolate thumbprint cookies
                  European style yogurt
                  frozen Alaskan salmon (with skin :))

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: foodslut

                    Just wondering if you have any tips for cooking the frozen Alaskan Salmon.

                    1. re: Hickory

                      Trade Joe's has a tub of mango salsa...perhaps pa fry the salmon until the skin is nice and crisp and eat it with mangao salsa?

                    2. re: foodslut

                      I too love the delices de bourgogne cheese...super delicious with a bit of sweet quince jam on nice crusty baguette. In fact, i had that last night.

                    3. A year ago I thought I needed nothing from Trader Joe's and now I can't go a week without a trip and am having a hard time deciding on 5 favorites. For now, I'll go with the products I always have to have in the house.

                      1. Marinated mushrooms
                      2. California Estate Olive Oil
                      3. Turkey breasts - available year round, perfect size
                      4. Low sodium organic chicken broth
                      5. Guilt free guacamole

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Just to clarify - you mean reduced guilt guacamole, yes?

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Yea, sorry I guess I made up the guilt free part. I only tried it recently but love it.

                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                          The marinated mushrooms are addictive!

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            I wish I could add to this list, everyday I think of other things are definitely must have items. I think I might replace the guacamole with the spinach and kale dip!

                          2. Some current faves are

                            whole wheat British Muffins
                            Sicilian Olive Oil
                            frozen petit peas
                            frozen pearl onions
                            Rolled Oats and Chocolate Chip fiberful (9g!) Granola Bars

                            1. Unexpected Cheddar
                              Cocoban red wine
                              Chocolate croissants
                              1000 day Gouda
                              Chocolate covered liqueur cherries (Christmas item)

                              1. Pub cheese - horseradish flavor
                                Bite size everything crackers (eaten w/ above cheese)
                                Kona coffee truffles
                                Mediterranean hummus
                                Just the Clusters cereal - maple pecan flavor

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: HeyImBack

                                  Totally agree with the pub cheese and Mediterranean hummus! They're both delicious!

                                2. -meatless balls (not on shelves now, are "being reformulated" and hope to return in march)
                                  - frozen soycuttash
                                  - honey wheat pretzel sticks
                                  - frozen organic fruits (esp blueberries!)
                                  - dk chocolate covered ginger

                                  Non-food but one of my favorite wines (and i usually hate red wine that isn't crazy expensive!) found this description:
                                  "2012 Josef Händler Sweet Red Wine, Rheinhessen, Germany $4.99 - Sweetness is very well balanced by the acidity and liveliness of the fruit that is plentiful and persistent. "

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                    Love love love the meatless meatballs and like you, been waiting for months for the company to reformulate..would of stocked up!

                                    Lemon pappardelle
                                    EVO
                                    Natural TJ Chicken sticks for my dog
                                    B12 sublinguals
                                    Veggie Spring rolls (frozen)
                                    Masala burgers
                                    Organic Virgin Coconut Oil...da best evah for the skin!

                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                      Just discovered the Lemon Pepper pasta which used to languish in my pantry is EXCELLENT in tuna casserole (got the idea on another thread). Going next week and it is on the top of my list.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Awesome.
                                        I juice a whole lemon for sauce with garlic and heirloom tomts, spinach when making the lemon pappardelle and I throw in the 2 lemon juiced halves in the boiling water to give it a little more lemoney punch..

                                        I do this with rice too and it is delicious.

                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                          And I bet you get the lemons from your back yard too!

                                          Sounds wonderful, I've only tried my usual various Italian treatments and, despite it being made in Italy, nothing ever grabbed me. Can't wait for August, when my garden should be in full bloom; I can do a lot of lemony herbs to up the flavors at least.

                                        2. re: coll

                                          Can you all who have tried the lemon pepper papperedelle let me know if it is very peppery? I put pepper on my foods but can only handle a little sprinkle.

                                          1. re: littleflower

                                            Not to my taste; I can barely taste it, it's just in the background. The little black specks look nice though!

                                        3. re: Beach Chick

                                          I wonder if they changed the recipe for that Pappardelle. I bought it when it first came out and thought it tasted like lemon pledge. I couldn't get away from that thought... And I love lemons!

                                          1. re: andieb

                                            LOL..lemon pledge.

                                            I'm more a Mr. Clean kind of gal.

                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                              It was a toss up between the two.. lol

                                            2. re: andieb

                                              That's a perfect description of lemon oil to me. I know JUST what you mean, though i haven't tried the TJ product in question.

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                I really wanted to like it..Maybe I'll give it another whirl. It has been several years since I tried it..

                                                1. re: andieb

                                                  Maybe I gussy mine up so much with extra lemon that I don't taste that pledge flavor..
                                                  Report back!

                                              2. re: andieb

                                                Curious to see if it's still like that. I felt that way about their confetti rice. I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't because the lemon pledge taste was so overwhelming for us. I was thinking about the pappardelle last time I was at the store but maybe it's not such a good idea for me!

                                          2. Wasabi Mayo
                                            Uncrystalized ginger
                                            organic avocados, they always seem to be "good"
                                            The little veggie and chicken broth packets, I miss the beef
                                            Salsa verde

                                            Honorable mention we can't get due to allergies: the mini milk chocolate covered peanut butter cups. Or the dark chocolate covered candied ginger

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: autumm

                                              I pick up the avocados every time too. They always taste great, and I've yet to get a bad one.

                                            2. 1. Frozen raspberries. I eat them on cereal every day.
                                              2. Truffle Brownie Mix.
                                              3. Garlic Hummus.
                                              4. French Vanilla Ice Cream. It's a full half-gallon and as good as the name-brand premiums but cheaper.
                                              5. Almond Meal. Has many applications in baking.

                                              Also super:
                                              Tiny frozen onions
                                              Frozen broccoli flowerets
                                              Frozen pineapple
                                              The marinara sauce that has only 25 mg sodium per 1/2 cup---name brands have 300-700 mg
                                              Frozen flounder filet stuffed with crabmeat
                                              Sweet Chili Sauce

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                That's the only French vanilla ice cream we buy now. Sooo good!

                                              2. 1. Tarte d'Champignon (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...
                                                )2. Vegetable Masala burgers
                                                3. Murcia Al vino cheese AND Creamy toscano cheese soaked in Syrah (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl... and http://www.traderjoes.com/FEARLESS-FL...
                                                )4. Hummus "Dip"
                                                5. Belgian dark chocolate pudding

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: acerulz

                                                  Love those masala burgers too!!

                                                  1. re: acerulz

                                                    <Creamy toscano cheese soaked in Syrah><---this is delicious! Spanish friends of ours (who are cheese snobs) turned us on to it.

                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                      I love that cheese.

                                                  2. Most of these I do not buy anymore due to not having any self control - but I do love them:

                                                    Almond Croissants
                                                    Orange/Cranberry Mini Scones
                                                    Chicken Pot Pie Bites
                                                    Petite Cocoa Batons
                                                    Most of the frozen bakery goodies...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: toopie28

                                                      +1 for the Petite Cocoa Batons!

                                                    2. Staples from each TJ trip are:
                                                      1) Charlee Bears
                                                      2) Soycatash
                                                      3) frozen french cut green beans
                                                      4) Honey roasted peanuts
                                                      5) sweet potato fries

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: nosey

                                                        +1 for Honey Roasted Peanuts...very addictive!

                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                          Yesss. Their honey roasted peanuts are superb. I could eat 'em all day, and at 3.99/lb, it wouldn't break the bank . . . only the scale

                                                      2. 1. Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
                                                        2. Seasoned Rack of Lamb
                                                        3. Mashed Potatoes (Frozen)
                                                        4. Authentic Belgian Waffles
                                                        5. Villa Italia Italian Grapefruit Soda

                                                        Honorable Mentions: Almond Croissants and Mini Croissants.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                          I can't believe I forgot to mention one of my all time favorites...Smoked Trout in the can.

                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                            God, that smoked trout is like crack. Delicious, fishy, smoky crack.

                                                        2. 1. California Estate Olive Oil
                                                          2. Unripened Brie
                                                          3. Frozen Vegetable Melange
                                                          4. Frozen Hash Browns
                                                          5. Unsweetened Coconut Milk

                                                          1. The first TJ's in Idaho is opening Feb 28 in Boise. These lists are fun to browse while the anticipation builds.

                                                            1. i dont know if i cant live without these, but these are the products i buy at TJs and not in other stores

                                                              1. Multigrain O's
                                                              2. Greek Yogurt
                                                              3. Multigrain blend with vegetables
                                                              4. Blueberry Bran muffins
                                                              5. Popcorn with olive oil

                                                              1. Current must-buys if I'm out:

                                                                1. Kerrygold salted butter
                                                                2. California Estate Olive Oil
                                                                3. Tandoori Naan
                                                                4. Palak Paneer
                                                                5. Pork gyoza potstickers

                                                                1. Frozen Haricort Vert
                                                                  Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
                                                                  Frozen Paneer Tika Masala
                                                                  Mushroom Turnovers
                                                                  Filled Pastas (three cheese tortellini)

                                                                  Honorable mention to those marinated mushrooms.

                                                                  1. 1) Frozen croissants (almond and chocolate are a tie for me).
                                                                    2) Greek feta cheese packed in brine. Because of it's ridiculously long shelf life (refrigerated) it's a staple in our home.
                                                                    3) Greek kalamata olives, jarred (in Olive oil).
                                                                    4) Frozen garlic cubes (Dorot) brand - much better than the jarred IMHO.
                                                                    5) Frozen Hodgepog vegetables ( with French haricots verbs a close second).

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                      3) Greek kalamata olives -- I love these, too!

                                                                      I remember the canned version they had, about $1.98 each. It was quite good, and easier to pack in a suitcase than the current bottled version. However, the bottled version contains pitted olives, which are much easier to use.

                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                        Since I posted this I have discovered the Dorot frozen basil cubes and must consider them a close second to the garlic cubes. Also, of course I mean French haricots verts (not verbs as my autocorrector inserted...damn those things!)

                                                                      2. 1.) Soft Multi-grain Rustico Bread
                                                                        2.) Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter
                                                                        3.) Multi-grain Crackers
                                                                        4.) Unexpected Cheddar Cheese
                                                                        5.) Almonds covered with dark chocolate, sea salt, and turbinado sugar

                                                                        1. Yep, love the organic virgin coconut oil to WEAR (great moisturizer with no chemicals after shower), not to eat
                                                                          Organic Green Tea when I can find it...seems like it is less and less available now ... bummer
                                                                          Organic Hummus
                                                                          Frozen Organic Chopped Spinach.(used to be able to find the organic frozen chopped spinach but for past months only the pestide-free kind...I'll take it but long for the organic)
                                                                          Frozen Organic Strawberries...criminey! Whole Foods sells fresh organic straws for $6.99 a pound...get outta here! TJ's is a deal...WF does have frozen organic but pkg is 10 ounces, not 12 like TJ's...just saying!!!!

                                                                          1. Caramelized English cheddar. My fav cheese.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: phillychower

                                                                              Are you talking about the English cheddar with caramelized onions? We love that cheese.

                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                yup that's it. It's like crack for me. My husband doesn't like it so I end up eating the whole block.. so I try not to buy it often.

                                                                            2. Original marinara
                                                                              Yellow curry simmer sauce
                                                                              South African smoke seasoning blend
                                                                              Frozen mango chunks
                                                                              Turkey meatballs

                                                                              I don't eat the following items myself, but I can't live without them because they pacify my children:

                                                                              Chicken Taquitos
                                                                              Linguine with Clams

                                                                              1. Frozen:
                                                                                Broccoli
                                                                                Baby peas
                                                                                Broccoli and cheddar quiche

                                                                                Other:
                                                                                Chocolate chips
                                                                                1/2 salt peanuts

                                                                                1. Frozen:
                                                                                  Japanese Rice
                                                                                  Three Rice Medley
                                                                                  Haricots Verts
                                                                                  Kai Soi Thai soup (I add 1/2 c. strong chicken stock, 1/4- 1/2 c. shredded cooked poultry, juice of 1-2 limes)
                                                                                  Mushroom Fettucini Nests (I add dry sherry, and sometimes- cooked ground beef or poultry, sour cream and parm)
                                                                                  Tarte d'Alsace- ( i add gruyere, slivered ham, spread of sour cream)
                                                                                  Quinoa with Buttercup Squash and Zucchini
                                                                                  Steak Burritos (I add leftover steak)

                                                                                  Refrig:
                                                                                  Toscano Cheese
                                                                                  Three Layer Hoomus
                                                                                  7 Layer Guac Taco dip

                                                                                  Grocery:
                                                                                  Multiseed Sesame Rice Crackers
                                                                                  Unsalted Tortilla Chips
                                                                                  Raspberry Chocolate Trail Mix
                                                                                  Cal. Estate EVOO
                                                                                  Salsa Verde (for chilaquiles, soups, stews)
                                                                                  Flax seed tortilla chips
                                                                                  72% Dark Chocolate Bars
                                                                                  Dried cranberries, nuts

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                    How COULD I forget my other top 5?:
                                                                                    Whole Grain Rye Bread - square, thin slices
                                                                                    Baked Jalapeno Cheese Crunchies

                                                                                    Sliced Fontina
                                                                                    Italian Truffle Cheese
                                                                                    Chevre Crumbles
                                                                                    Thai Tom Yum Soup w/ Spin. Mushrm Wontons (frozen)
                                                                                    Chicken Tikka Masala (frzn) this sauce is really terrific
                                                                                    Fresh flowers

                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                      I've been wondering about the fontina, is it the stuff with actual flavor?

                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                        to me, yes. almost as good as the fontina val d'aosta (has brown wax rind). sliced is what makes it invaluable to me.
                                                                                        ymmv.

                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                          Blargh, I'm not the biggest fan of the Fontina but I do admit it's very convenient that it's sliced.

                                                                                    2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                      Wow, it seems that the concept of "five" escapes you. ;)

                                                                                      Is that EVOO much better than the others (say, as salad dressing)?

                                                                                      1. re: drmoze

                                                                                        yes, i decided , once i started answering the question, that more sharing trumped following the 'rules' on this one. No offense to TXMandy/OP.
                                                                                        I don't know; it's the only evoo i have used in 5 yrs; can't remember the others. but there are TrJ evoo threads on this board if you do a search.

                                                                                        i use cal estates evoo for every oo need: saute, salad dressings.but then, my evoo taste is for mild/buttery and not grassy/peppery.

                                                                                    3. TJ's cocktail sauce is one of the best and for under $2 is a great deal...very horsey.

                                                                                      1. I appreciate Top 5 lists! I know it's hard to pick favorites, but it provides a great snapshot of people's recommendations beyond the lengthy Yay/Nay lists.

                                                                                        Top 5:

                                                                                        parmesan and arugula ravioli (fridge)
                                                                                        butternut squash gnocchi with butter & sage sauce (frozen)
                                                                                        polenta provencale (frozen)
                                                                                        petite pan pascal/pauline (fresh bakery)
                                                                                        coconut cranberry granola

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chinchi

                                                                                          So I'm guessing you aren't low carb-ing? ;-)

                                                                                          I love that butternut gnocchi too, but the pain pascal isn't available around here D:

                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                            I am a sucker for bread and pasta! The current weather may have influenced my "comfort food" picks.

                                                                                            Too bad about the pain pascal. It is/was my favorite. The Northern CA rendition - pain pauline - is good, but not as heavenly as the pascal (So Cal).

                                                                                        2. Our most purchased have mostly to do with the good price for the quality on the things we eat a lot of...not too exciting of a list.

                                                                                          1. Wild blueberries (frozen) - great price and great tasting
                                                                                          2. Gluten free oatmeal
                                                                                          3. pound plus 72% bar
                                                                                          4. Low fat cheeses (irish cheddar and mozzerella get used the most, food for low fat cheeses)
                                                                                          5. Pizza dough (for the non-Celiacs in the house)

                                                                                          Things we love that are more exciting

                                                                                          1. Dr. Praegers California veggie burgers
                                                                                          2. Serrano salsa (refrigerated)
                                                                                          3. Sea salt and caramel bar (made by Vosges)
                                                                                          4. Fire roasted corn

                                                                                          1. 1. Triple Gingersnaps
                                                                                            2. California Estate olive oil OR Spanish olive oil
                                                                                            3. Frozen "fire roasted" corn
                                                                                            4. Seaside Cheddar cheese (with the little crystals in them)
                                                                                            5. Grade B maple syrup

                                                                                            Also love their #2 unbleached cone coffee filters. Best price anywhere.

                                                                                            1. I adore their flash frozen cod filet!! It is so meaty, no fishy taste/smell, and it is beyond fresh!! We are not fish lovers and this is the ONLY fish we actually love!!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Emmyos

                                                                                                I agree, I recently bought the cod and it's great!

                                                                                              2. 1) Organic Corn Chip Dippers (no canola-yeah!)
                                                                                                2) Unpasteurized Orange Juice
                                                                                                3) Raw Milk Parmesan Cheese
                                                                                                4) Raw Milk Emmentaler Cheese
                                                                                                5) Grass fed Organic Ground Beef

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chezron

                                                                                                  I was in TJ yesterday for the first time, I saw the frozen grass fed beef rib roasts from Australia at $8.99 a pound, do you have any experience with them?

                                                                                                  1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                    haven't had it because i haven't cared for the flavor of Australian beef (i think it's just a matter of what you're raised with sometimes). you may like it but it does taste diff from US beef. But if you don't like it, you can always get credit for it.

                                                                                                2. the prewashed, precut, organic kale in the salad section.
                                                                                                  perfect for making soups and stews.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                    I love that stuff and the Swiss chard as well.

                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                      add to my list the following which i can use to make israeli salad:
                                                                                                      organic persian cucumber
                                                                                                      organic onion (sweet or green)
                                                                                                      organic tomatoes
                                                                                                      organic lemons or limes (to be squeezed)

                                                                                                      combine the diced cucumber, minced onion, diced tomatos, and the lemon or lime juice and sprinkle well with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                      let marinate for 15 minutes or so and you have israeli salad.

                                                                                                  2. 1. Frozen Vegetable Lasagna
                                                                                                    2. Orange Chicken (taste better than the restaurant's)
                                                                                                    3. Dark Chocolate w/ Almond (3 bars for $1.79)
                                                                                                    4. Sweet Potato Chips (hidden on the bottom shelf)
                                                                                                    5. Mango Chunks (cheaper than Walmart)

                                                                                                    Wow coming up with just 5 is harder than it looks! I love love love Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                    1. Just went yesterday, and the top 5 reasons I went were:

                                                                                                      1) an assortment of cheeses (different every time)
                                                                                                      2) Organic Beef Broth
                                                                                                      3) Fire Roasted Green Hatch chile peppers
                                                                                                      4) Truffle Brownie mix
                                                                                                      5) Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds

                                                                                                      For the future: I bought this for the first time and immediately couldn't live without it: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

                                                                                                      Things I bought because of this thread; thanks everyone:
                                                                                                      Almond Croissant
                                                                                                      Miso Ginger Broth
                                                                                                      Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
                                                                                                      (I will report back on those. )

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        the Hatch peppers- are those the canned chopped ones?
                                                                                                        If not, i'll be running over for some right away. But if they are the chopped ones, imo they are mushy. The more expensive El Paso canned brand, WHOLE, are firm and excellent, not mushy.

                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                          But I don't think the El Paso is fire roasted either? That makes all the difference to me.

                                                                                                          The TJs work for me because I want them to melt into the dish and just add some background flavor. That, Rotel and El Pato are my "secret" ingredients" in many a dish, sometimes all three at once!

                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                            and WHEN did you say dinner was tonight?!

                                                                                                        2. re: coll

                                                                                                          Those Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are amazing. I am just glad I can buy them in the small plastic bag instead of the large tub......

                                                                                                          www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                          1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                            I can't believe it but so far I am holding myself to one mid morning and one after dinner. They are "only" 70 calories each so I can cut somewhere else. And at least I can tell myself they're somewhat healthy.

                                                                                                            Ask me again in a week or so how I'm doing though!

                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                              coll,

                                                                                                              I started that way, but now I just eat them all up during the weekend and then fast all week long, lol! Oy vey....

                                                                                                              www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                I'm sure that's how it will end up. I guarantee it!

                                                                                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                  ha! you funny!

                                                                                                          2. - Organic tricolor bell peppers (by far the best price I've seen)
                                                                                                            - Mediterranean hummus
                                                                                                            - Organic Turkish apricots
                                                                                                            - Heirloom navel oranges (in season)
                                                                                                            - Various trail mixes (especially Salty, Sweet & Nutty) / nuts (esp. half salt cashews)

                                                                                                            I know that last "one" is cheating. Oh well.

                                                                                                            Honorable mention sweets:
                                                                                                            - Milk and dark chocolate peanut butter cups
                                                                                                            - Dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar
                                                                                                            - Dark chocolate covered ginger

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                              I love their organic tricolor bell peppers too!

                                                                                                            2. 1) Sparkling mineral water
                                                                                                              2) California Estate Olive Oil
                                                                                                              3) French berry lemonade
                                                                                                              4) Kumato tomatoes
                                                                                                              5) 50% less salt cashews

                                                                                                              honorable mention:
                                                                                                              chocolate truffles
                                                                                                              pita chips

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                Have you tried the Kona coffee chocolate truffles? They're truly evil!

                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                  Yes, those are good.

                                                                                                              2. I can't understand how anyone's top 5 list doesn't include at least one variety of TJ's croissants. We love them all. Does anyone not like them?

                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                  they are indeed terrific. and i was v happy to see they are now doing the frozen ones with almond filling (they used to have those as fresh.) and i did try the kouign aman too- very excellent. reminded me of the puff pastry elephant ears/palmiers we used to get in France.

                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                    I tried the kouign amman for the first time over the weekend. They did not rise so much in the moring so I was a bit worried but they did bake beautifully. I liked it better later when they were cold...love the texture of crunchy caramel with soft pastry. perfect with cup of coffee.
                                                                                                                    I also like their frozen macarons..the neutral ones..not the fruit flavored ones.

                                                                                                                  2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                    I had tried the chocolate ones a year or two back and wasn't thrilled, which surprised me because chocolate croissants are one of my favorite bakery goods. I thought these would blow me away but not really. I did just buy the almond version and will let you know when I get around to baking them how it goes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      I'm surprised. We have the chocolate croissants every few weeks and love them. Did yours not rise sufficiently, did you not like the chocolate...?

                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                        I think they may not have risen enough, it was awhile back. I plan to let these almond ones go to town before they hit the oven. If not for this thread, I never would have given them another chance. But I have had some work class chocolate croissants in the past, so I may be aiming too high.

                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                          They really should be in a warm place overnight. If your home isn't warm, see if your oven has a proofing setting (we proof ours at 85 degrees). Others have recommended the oven with the light on (which keeps the oven relatively warm). When proofed properly, the croissants are quite excellent.

                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                            Ok I'll figure something out, or else wait until summer!

                                                                                                                            I have a Viking but it's bare bones. I do my bread with a bowl of hot water, maybe something like that?

                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                              I'm near boston and it's pretty cold in my house. the kouign aman wouldn't rise the other day in my garland oven( pilot not lit), so i put the pan near the (6 burner) pilots and inverted a roasting pan over, and baked them when they were fairly risen and smelling of dough, but , even though i compared them to the pkg.photo, i'm not sure if i should have let them rise further. anyway, they did bake up cooked-through and delicious, but maybe half the height of the croissants i've done before.

                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                the kA that i proofed by the pilot lights this time (this morning) rose so high that they opened up into flat squares. That's 'too proofed', yes? I lifted and folded in the corners (the butter kind of oozed out a bit) and they stayed that way through baking but i think they deflated/compacted a bit because of that. If you have successfully proofed your KA, have they puffed up but kept their corners folded in?

                                                                                                                                I'm thinking of making some sweet farmer's cheese Cheese Danish-like filling and putting a blob in the KA center after they have (over?) proofed and before folding in the corners. Think that could work? There's an egg in the filling and i'm thinking that even though the filling is baked through at 15 minutes (when i make cheese strudel using filo), maybe because it's protected by the KA puff pastry, it might not over-bake.... What do you think?

                                                                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                                                                            Haha just saw what I wrote. WORLD class, not working class.....

                                                                                                                          3. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                            to me, if i'm going to consume that many calories, i want a better eating experience:
                                                                                                                            better chocolate
                                                                                                                            better pastry

                                                                                                                            in other words, i will drive to a good bakery for a perfect croissant to be consumed immediately.

                                                                                                                            on the other hand: the organic vegetables they sell are just as good or better that the organic vegetables available anywhere else.

                                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                              when baking the chocolate croissants, we cut the still slightly frozen dough in half so you get 8 pcs. and perfect baking. Half the croissant size is perfect for a serving.

                                                                                                                              1. re: trvlcrzy

                                                                                                                                trvlcrzy,

                                                                                                                                What a great idea, those croissants are really big! Thanks. :)

                                                                                                                                www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                  Interesting! We are not big people, nor overweight! We have the chocolate croissants every week or so, and the two of us easily finish 3 or even sometimes 4 for breakfast. That's our entire breakfast however (of course with coffee), and a half croissant would be a tease!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                    Joseph,

                                                                                                                                    For me,I usually serve these when I make a nice brunch for family or friends. So the croissants are served along with bagels, cut in half, an egg/vegetable dish of some sort, a fruit salad and a baked ham. I love the idea of cutting them in half before baking for the presentation. :)

                                                                                                                                    www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                        2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                          1. Love the croissants! yes…plain and chocolate
                                                                                                                          2. Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                                                                                                                          3. European Style plain yogurt
                                                                                                                          4. TJ Unexpected Cheddar
                                                                                                                          5. all their nuts

                                                                                                                        3. 1. Salted and Roasted Sunflower Seeds.
                                                                                                                          2. Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets, Salted.
                                                                                                                          3. White Cheddar Popcorn.
                                                                                                                          4. Farm Fresh Eggs.
                                                                                                                          5. Toasted Oat Bran.

                                                                                                                          1. 1. Organic Coconut Sugar (new item) - from the flowers of coconuts - very good natural sugar for cooking/baking
                                                                                                                            2. Organic Italian Olive Oil (square bottle) - has a smooth finish
                                                                                                                            3. Tuscan Pane Bread (strangely addictive toasted)
                                                                                                                            4. Peaches large case only - when come as Opportunity Buy item - insanely juicey - avail Summer only and amazing price of $5.99
                                                                                                                            5. Organic Coconut Oil - was the best selling new item at Trader Joes ever when introduced fwiw
                                                                                                                            6. Organic Grapefruit Juice - pick the reddest one if you can - almost a 'fragrant' grapefruit flavor
                                                                                                                            7. Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner

                                                                                                                            ( added some items since one is avail only in Summer )

                                                                                                                            This is also the only grocery store I know of that could double the stores in my area (Twin Cities) and it would still not be enough stores.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: daver9000

                                                                                                                              Is the Organic grapefruit juice that you like the shelf stable kind or is it in the refrigerator section next to the orange juice?

                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                It is the shelf stable kind - I still have not tried the refrigerated one yet. I like the Organic shelf one so much I have not tried the other. I buy 3 at a time now. A side benefit is If I feel even the slightest cold or sore throat coming on - a few swigs of it has stopped it in its tracks.

                                                                                                                              2. re: daver9000

                                                                                                                                In the summer, the Tuscan Pane makes for an outstanding BLT (gotta have those good summer tomatoes, though) with applewood bacon.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                  love the whole wheat tuscan pane for everything -- including BSTs (i substitute baby spinach for lettuce:)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                                                    I was disappointed to find that the whole wheat Tuscan Pane at the TJs in my new town (Davis) is not 100% whole wheat like the version I bought regularly in L.A. It has unbleached enriched flour and something or other for freshness. Boo :(

                                                                                                                              3. Ack!! Five is so hard... I have my top 5 Cheeses. top 5 crackers. top five frozen items. top five snacks...

                                                                                                                                But here we go:

                                                                                                                                Top Cracker: Whole Grain Pita Crackers (also love the raisin rosemary. the new super thin paper ones. the brown rice crackers...)

                                                                                                                                Top Cheese: Honey Goat Cheese (also love the Isreali Feta, the marinated mozz, the unexpected cheddar...)

                                                                                                                                Top Frozen: Frozen Naan. (also love the indian chickpeas, the reduced guilt Mac n Cheese, the frozen Haricot Vert...)

                                                                                                                                Top Snack: The Reduced Salt Nut Mix (Also love the Dark Chocolate Caramel Wedges, the sesame cashews, the baked sea salt pita chips, the rosemary marcona almonds...)

                                                                                                                                Top Pantry: Giant Beans in Tomatoes (Also love the Instant Whole Wheat CousCous. The Isreali Couscous. The marinated mushrooms. The Jarred Bruschetta)

                                                                                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                  Oh yea I've seen those giant beans. What do you do with them?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                    Gigantes in tomato sauce are a popular Greek mezze. You just eat them as is, at room temp.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                      I can probably accomplish that :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                      So many things! I keep a jar stashed in my work pantry for those days when things get harry....

                                                                                                                                      I use them with cheese plates, they go wonderful with hard strong cheese like Manchengo

                                                                                                                                      They are great as a quick lunch over something like that Instant Whole Wheat CousCous.

                                                                                                                                      They are great added to sliced grilled sausages, they make an upscale beanie-weenies (serve with a side of buttered garlic and parm angel hair pasta... OMG)

                                                                                                                                      Or as I often do, when cleaning up the day AFTER the party.... eat straight from the jar, with whatever left over crackers and whatever left over red wine... LOL!!

                                                                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                        LOVE the gigante beans! Great on a salad- their sauce becomes the salad dressing. Most often its more of a fork plus jar situation.....

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                          When we take them for picnics... we just use tooth picks and then folks pour the sauce on top of sliced baguettes (Then add a slice of machengo cheese, maybe a bit of charcuterie on top... and it's heaven..

                                                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                            Wow Dommy you have me sold!

                                                                                                                                    3. Frozen rolled pie dough
                                                                                                                                      edamame crackers
                                                                                                                                      Any Flavor of Trader Joe Ice Cream
                                                                                                                                      Chocolate chip cookie Ice cream sandwiches rolled in chips
                                                                                                                                      Fried Rice in Freezer Section

                                                                                                                                      1. 1. Chicken Tikka Masala (frozen)
                                                                                                                                        2. Caramelized Onion Dip
                                                                                                                                        3. Organic Persian Cucumbers
                                                                                                                                        4. Spinach and Kale Dip
                                                                                                                                        5. Grapefruit Juice (fridge version)

                                                                                                                                        1. My top five in no particular order:

                                                                                                                                          - Hollandaise Sauce in the tub
                                                                                                                                          - Mushroom & Truffle Flatbread
                                                                                                                                          - Frozen Leeks
                                                                                                                                          - Grass fed burgers (NZ)
                                                                                                                                          - Pomegranate Blueberry Sherbet

                                                                                                                                          1. 1. Cruciferous Crunch - a mix of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and red and green cabbage. Mix with with 3 Tbs olive oil, 1/4 c. of panko, and spices to your taste. Roast at 400 degrees for 14 min - redistributing halfway through.

                                                                                                                                            2. Pork Gyozas - I steam them and dip in soy sauce - yum!

                                                                                                                                            3. South African Smoke seasoning - Oh my - I put this on everything; eggs, pasta, soup, veg. A smoky mixture of paprika, salt, basil, and garlic.

                                                                                                                                            4. Roasted Seaweed snacks.

                                                                                                                                            5. TJ Shaved Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago blend.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: brendakdaniels

                                                                                                                                              We use the Cruciferous Crunch to shorten the time on this recipe http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                                                              though now I've adapted it to be even lazier by doing the TJs roasted sunflower seeds instead of roasting the almonds.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: abbyp

                                                                                                                                                Aha, I forgot! Squeeze about 1-2Tbs fresh lemon juice into the mixture and sprinkle with fresh parmesan.

                                                                                                                                            2. Oh goodness this thread is making me hungry!

                                                                                                                                              Always in my cart:
                                                                                                                                              - Herb Salad Blend (new addition: Cruciferious Blend)
                                                                                                                                              - Channa Masala (frozen)
                                                                                                                                              - Mushroom risotto (frozen). easy to make into a meal by throwing in some spinach and chicken sausage
                                                                                                                                              - Light Champagne Vinaigrette
                                                                                                                                              - Cats Cookies for People (Ginger or Chocolate)

                                                                                                                                              Have no self-control so can't buy em:
                                                                                                                                              - Red Australian Licorice
                                                                                                                                              - Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate bar
                                                                                                                                              - Caramelized Onion English Cheddar
                                                                                                                                              - Some sort of peppery toscano cheese? We demolished it.

                                                                                                                                              1. 3 layer hummus
                                                                                                                                                Pita crackers (not the whole grain ones)
                                                                                                                                                Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
                                                                                                                                                Bean and rice burritos
                                                                                                                                                Cheap but good beer ($5.99 for a 6pk of a semi local IPA is a great deal)

                                                                                                                                                1. Olive demi baguette
                                                                                                                                                  Non fat plain Greek yogurt
                                                                                                                                                  Non fat vanilla yogurt
                                                                                                                                                  Hummus
                                                                                                                                                  Hot & Sweet mustard

                                                                                                                                                  If you asked me tomorrow I'd probably have a different five, since there are so many TJ's items that I always have to have in the house.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Frozen thin green beans.
                                                                                                                                                    Frozen petite peas.
                                                                                                                                                    Grated parmesan and romano cheese.
                                                                                                                                                    Eggs and milk -- cheaper than Ralphs.
                                                                                                                                                    New one! Just found! "Hold the Cone" mini ice cream cones. Less than an ounce each, I got the chocolate, very small cones covered in a thin layer of hard chocolate with a crispy sugar cone with chocolate coating inside. 8 for $2.99, if I remember correctly. Just a few bites, but ideal for a quick dessert or snack where I just want a taste of something sweet. Also come with vanilla ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Hard to pick just five! Hmmm, let's see....

                                                                                                                                                      Salsa Authentica - gotta have it

                                                                                                                                                      Jarred Bruschetta - truly fresh tasting and delicious

                                                                                                                                                      Frozen leeks - always keep them stashed in the freezer
                                                                                                                                                      (actually I like many of their frozen veggies and fruits in general)

                                                                                                                                                      Natural nut butters

                                                                                                                                                      All their ginger and pumpkin products (some seasonal). If you like ginger and/or pumpkin, TJ's really comes through!

                                                                                                                                                      1. I can't believe it! Just came back from Trader Joe's and they discontinued one of my favorites.... Confetti Rice. Whhyyyy! They told me it probably wasn't selling well so the company discontinued it. What? I was in there every month buying a few boxes. Is there any one out there that hated it?

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1. Soft yummy Tandoori Naan, the yellow ones
                                                                                                                                                          2. Serrano Salsa (in the fresh section)
                                                                                                                                                          3. Everything Pretzel Thins, they make great croutons smashed up on a salad.
                                                                                                                                                          4. Hot and Sweet Mustard
                                                                                                                                                          5. Bag after bag of perfect butter lettuce

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1. Frozen Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese (I usually augment with some veggies)
                                                                                                                                                            2. Mediterranean Hummus / Smooth & Creamy Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus
                                                                                                                                                            3. Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips
                                                                                                                                                            4. Tzatziki Sauce
                                                                                                                                                            5. Frozen Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas (it’s dairy free!)