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Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - July 2014 [OLD]

We're moving right along through summer. The days are getting shorter but the party's just begun. July brings Independence Day for those of us in the US and plenty of time for picnics and BBQ.

What products have you tried recently? Would you rate them a YAY, MEH, or NAY?

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  1. Resurgence Yay for the 1000 Day Gouda. Already a favorite but just cracked open a new wedge and was reminded how great this cheese is.

    1. YAY Salt and pepper pistachios. Not overly salty and a good bold black pepper taste. Dangerously addictive.

      7 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        Haven't tried them yet but they sound great. I have been shying away from pistachios for a while for the SOLE REASON that my thumb-nails get so chewed-up they hurt for days after. Maybe I have weak nails or something.... but it becomes an issue.

        Or maybe it's just that when I start crackin' open pistachios I can't stop at just 50 of them....

        I'm going to give 'em a go, though. I love pistachios too much to not try these. The TJ's nuts in the 1 lb. bags I've purchased (usually cashews or almonds) have been absolutely top-notch quality from my experience.

        1. re: Dave B

          You can spare those thumbs by using a half shell from your first opened nut; insert it into the opening of the nut and twist. The downside of this method is that you can eat a lot more pistachios with minimal thumb pain (the bag disappears WAY too fast)!

          1. re: Pwmfan

            I did try the salt and pepper pistachios and boy they are great! I didn't have a lot of luck with the thumb-saving technique. Probably need more practice. This time I ended up going back to the traditional thumb-nail wrecking method. It was worth it.

            I never thought to look before, but there are some specifically designed tools out there. Thinking about ordering the plastic ones at 2 for $9.96 with free shipping!

            http://www.pistachionuts.net/
            video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw_L3...

            1. re: Pwmfan

              I've also used a well washed new flat head screwdriver. When you have to open lots of them!

              1. re: adventuresinbaking

                My pistachio opener tools arrived (two for $10 including shipping) and I will say I'm surprised at how effective and easy to use they are.

                Had to make another TJ's stop yesterday just to get more Salt & Pepper Pistachios so I could test my new opener tool. The sacrifices I make.

                And my fingernails are in magnificent shape after all this pistachio experimentation. Go figure - people start talking, and stuff gets done.

                 
          2. re: weezieduzzit

            I agree - they are absolutely fantastic.

          3. Had shied away from the rosemary raisin crackers but finally tasted them a few weeks ago & both my mom (who's visiting) & myself are hooked. Tried them with the triple cream wild mushroom brie and a hot pepper jelly and it is a great combination.

            Also yay for the peach nectar.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Barbara76137

              These have been a meh for me because I could never figure out what to put on them and ate them straight from the box. Your post made me think they might be pretty good with a little smear of ricotta and a tiny piece of fresh peach. I'm going to have to pick up another box.

              1. re: Harts52

                I had some rosemary raisin crackers today with my (boring) salad. I topped each with a little goat cheese. Half got a blueberry or two and the other half got sliced strawberry. So tasty. And now I know what to serve for lunch on the 4th!

                Just got a jar of pepper jelly last week. That combo sounds great as does the ricotta and peach. Thanks for the ideas.

              2. re: Barbara76137

                They are awesome with goat cheese - especially the honey chèvre at TJs.

                1. re: RabbiBeth

                  Just got the honey chevre to try for the first time.

                  1. re: RabbiBeth

                    when I reheat pizza, I put some dabs of that on it..and maybe some of their cooked applewood bacon pieces.......yummy

                    1. re: RabbiBeth

                      The rosemary raison crackers with the honey chevre is a magical combination.

                    2. re: Barbara76137

                      Used the cracker/cheese/jelly combo for a quick appetizer Sunday night and my two guests devoured an entire bag of crackers & wedge of cheese! All that's left is some of the jelly (16 oz. jar! )

                      1. re: Barbara76137

                        Had them with chopped liver yesterday, which sounds like a weird combination but is actually really good.

                        1. re: TVHilton

                          Not at all! They are amazing with pate for sure... the funk. the salt. the sweetness all is highlighted with these crackers... luv dem.

                          --Dommy!

                      2. Yay to the aloo chaat frozen Indian pockets. I only bought one box and I'm hours away from a TJ's...

                        1. Yea - Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. It's iced coffee season and this is the quickest and easiest way to make it. (I've tried a couple of cold brew methods and the results were too weak.) "100% Arabica coffee beans." The label says to refrigerate when opened, so iced coffee shouldn't melt too much ice, and to dilute by 2-1 water to concentrate. That's OK by me, but those who like their coffee stronger can add less water. Whether I'd like it hot, I don't know.

                          Yea - bananas. A commodity, same as you find in every other food store (Chiquita), still only 19¢ each. A real bargain even for TJ.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: John Francis

                            So wanted to try the cold brew concentrate but was waiting for a recommendation. Thanks, it's on my list now to try.

                            1. re: missylrn

                              I actually really didn't like the cold brew and prefer the version i've made myself. But i prefer a darker roast and very intense flavor, more like espresso. Even barely diluted the TJs cold brew was a "meh" for me....

                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                I didn't love the cold brew concentrate either. had a strange flavor to me.

                              2. re: missylrn

                                I haven't tried it recently, but got a bottle last year. It was fine; it's hard to make cold brew coffee taste outstandingly good or bad (which is why it's a good use for mediocre or stale beans). Convenient, though, and much better than instant, but not as good as iced coffee made with hot water and immediately cooled over ice.

                              3. re: John Francis

                                I am curious about this because of the convenience. But I am very picky about my coffee and somewhat skeptical how good a concentrated coffee can be.

                                The best cold brew coffee I ever tasted was at a cafe in Tokyo. So full of flavor, strong and robust, yet it was so smooth and had no bitterness or the acidic taste that hot brew coffee generally has. I can't figure out the way to recreate it myself till this day. But I think properly made cold brew coffee is far better than pouring the hot coffee over ice for sure.

                                It seems the vote is split on this product. I am still on the fence either to try or not...

                                1. re: Ashibi

                                  In Japan it might have been made using the Kyoto method of drip. Here is a little toy I've been dying to get myself...

                                  http://www.amazon.com/Sur-La-Table-Br...

                                  1. re: Dommy

                                    Woo, I'm putting it on my wish list!

                                  2. re: Ashibi

                                    TJs is not strong, and nothing like the cold brew i've had from blue bottle, ninth st espresso, etc....
                                    Try it and just take it back if you don't like it, but its more of a mild/medium roast than an espresso flavor.

                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                      Cold brew is never an espresso flavor. Totally different brewing methods.

                                      Blue Bottle is also a lighter roast, like TJ's, but I believe they normally add some chicory to their cold brew. At least, the 'New Orleans' cold brew they are famous for.

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        I was at TJ on Riverside in Sherman Oaks yesterday, but it was totally sold out. It appears it is very popular.

                                      2. re: Ashibi

                                        I don't care for cold-brew coffee but I also hate places that make iced coffee by pouring hot coffee on ice - it's always watery. I get around this at home by making a pot of coffee, adding espresso (I have a Bialetti) and pouring both into a mason jar. I keep this in the fridge and just add a new pot of coffee when necessary, or add the leftovers from pots I brew for my husband (who prefers his coffee hot, even in summer).

                                        If I want an iced coffee out I order a quadruple espresso and a cup of ice. I add milk to the espresso first to cool it off, then pour it over the ice - it keeps it from melting the ice too much.