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Trader Joe's Products (2002–2011)


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#301 Reefpimp

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:05 AM

The frozen green chickpeas at Tj's make for a very interesting take on hummus. Plus they are double extra super yummy on their own; they taste a lot like English peas; which I make no doubt will lead me into some questionable areas involving English peas, tahini, garlic, and a food processor.

Pray for me.


This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

#302 markk

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:19 AM

I'm relatively new to Trader Joe's, it requiring quite a drive to get to one, but I do make the trek to be sure that I always have their Tarte d'Alsace in the freezer. Two have opened up closer to me (one, quite close) so I've been able to experiment with more stuff.

So I tried the Shepherd's Pie, which sure sounded good. But it was the almost strangest thing I've ever eaten (and not in a good way). Two of us were ready to give up on them after the first taste and scrounge for something else, but we figured "what the hell" and stuck with them, though they did not grow on us in any way.

Does anybody like these?
Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

#303 Dave Parrott

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

Was it too watery? Was the meat fatty? Bland?
I have never had Trader Joe's, but Shephards Pie is good down-to-earth comfort food. I order it at a little pub I frequent when the weather is cold.

#304 Pam R

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:08 PM

Can you tell us what made it so strange?

#305 markk

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:34 PM

It was sort of bland. The meat chunks had the color and consistency and stringiness of what's generally sold in the cryovac packs as "corned beef", and had little relation to the rest of the pie. And it wasn't in any way "harmonious" or tasty, and in both cases, a significant amount of the "gravy" boiled over and out of the package (which was one of the warnings) while other parts of the pie remained cold, so however they devised this to reheat in the microwave didn't seem well planned. I dunno. It was just all-around "strange" and unenjoyable, and but for the fact that it was late and we just wanted something to eat, we wouldn't normally have eaten them.

I was hoping that maybe some people who were familiar with them would come on and post other experiences with them.

I am quite familiar with Shepherd's Pie in general.
Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

#306 Tess

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:41 PM

I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.

#307 rconnelly

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:54 PM

I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.

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me, too.

#308 Dave Parrott

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 01:30 PM

It was sort of bland.  The meat chunks had the color and consistency and stringiness of what's generally sold in the cryovac packs as "corned beef", and had little relation to the rest of the pie.  And it wasn't in any way "harmonious" or tasty,...........


That's a shame Mark. Based on what you just reported I'll stear clear of them too.

#309 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 02:00 PM

I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.

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ditto on this exactly

I feel the same way about the cheese section I find most of it lousy and never buy it unless I need the big thing of chevre for a recipe

I love their cream yogurt and butter.. .. the selection of dried fruits and nuts ...fantastic


that is about it from there I love the store but I only buy a few things consistantly ..nothing premade that is for sure as above
as I have had way too many disapointments ...

#310 rconnelly

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 02:04 PM

I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.

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ditto on this exactly

I feel the same way about the cheese section I find most of it lousy and never buy it unless I need the big thing of chevre for a recipe

I love their cream yogurt and butter.. .. the selection of dried fruits and nuts ...fantastic


that is about it from there I love the store but I only buy a few things consistantly ..nothing premade that is for sure as above
as I have had way too many disapointments ...

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About a year ago a Trader Joe's opened within blocks of my house. We were very excited!
but the more we shopped there the more we were disappointed in a lot of their stuff.
We also realized how over packaged everything is. So what if you have organic whatever, if it has three or four "biodegradable" wrappings, you are defeating the point.

#311 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:04 PM

I have never understood what people have gushed over Trader Joes about.
Dont get it, never will.

Frozen meat and seafood turn me off.
And I may just be being picky but just cause they slap a Trader Joes label on things doesnt make them better then items in other stores...
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#312 joancassell

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:09 PM

I can't say I like the wine I've bought from them. But their garlic is better than the supermarket's (although not up to the summer farmer's market).
And I hate the fact that so many things, including oranges and lemons, are packaged in plastic, so one can't tell till one gets it home that one is no good.
It is pleasant though to have people who smile at the checkout counter and go out of their way to show you where things are located. (I enjoy the tastes as well, as though I usually don't buy the prepared foods they're giving samples of.)

#313 Batard

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:31 PM

I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.

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Same here.
"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."
Fergus Henderson

#314 markk

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:31 PM

Thanks everybody! I learned something.

Though their Tarte d'Alsace is something I'd like never to be without in my freezer; it's great. So far for me, that makes one thing out of the entire store. Good thing there's one close by now.
Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

#315 Toliver

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 05:22 PM

I always buy my balsamic vinegar at TJ's. I used to buy the "jug-o-balsamic-vinegar" at Costco but when they switched to a Kirkland brand (less product for about the same price :angry: ) I switched to TJ's. I don't buy the high-end stuff...just the regular everyday stuff.
I also like TJ's jar of julienned sun-dried tomatoes. It's a lot cheaper than what I find in the normal grocery stores.

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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#316 cdh

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 06:50 PM

I find TJ's prepared foods tend toward the sweet and insipid side of the flavor spectrum... That is what I recall about the Shepherd's Pie (which is a misnomer... shepherd's pie contains ground lamb, Cottage Pie contains ground beef, though the TJ's I recall could just as well have contained TVP for all of the meaty character it brought) is that is was a bit more sweet that I'd like in a savory dish, and over-thymed.
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#317 Allura

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:04 PM

The shepherd's pie is definitely not one of their better items. Of their frozen, microwavable meals, we usually stick to the burritos, tacquitos and the like, the eggplant parmesan (it's not great, but it's not breaded, which is a step up from the grocery store), and the macaroni & cheese. Otherwise, I buy their frozen fruit in off season, their yogurt, all the frozen desserts are good, coffee, whole wheat bread (they have a sprouted grain one that's not too sweet like most whole wheat bread), and their lobster bisque occasionally. It's good for a bunch of stuff I buy because it's there. Also, their canned cat food actually smells decent and has a good ingredient list, and they almost always have the "double wide" cat scratcher for my wide-load kitties. :)
Joanna G. Hurley
"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

#318 Reignking

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:09 PM

Their appetizers are usually good -- things like dumplings or lemongrass sticks. But their frozen asparagus risotto was just terrible.

Come to think of it, I don't buy too many of their frozen items, save those appetizers and veggies.

#319 Toliver

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:28 AM

Every Christmas my brother and his wife give me a "munchies" bag containing various dips, spreads, condiments, chips and snacks.
This year they included a box of Trader Joe's Chocolate Truffles.
Oh.My.God.
They may not be high end chocolates but I tell you the mouth feel of these chocolates is so sexy, silky, and satiny that it feels like I'm committing a sin when I eat them. :wub:
Anyone else a fan?

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#320 Susie Q

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 12:55 PM

Not a chocolate lover but these are very good. Their price is even wonderful.

#321 slo_ted

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:14 PM

Their Jo-Jos are really dangerous!

#322 Quiltguy

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:24 PM

Trader Joe's Chocolate Truffles.
Oh.My.God.

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My big TJ's sin... :wub: :wub:
They make me happy.... :biggrin: :biggrin:

#323 mizducky

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:02 PM

Every Christmas my brother and his wife give me a "munchies" bag containing various dips, spreads, condiments, chips and snacks.
This year they included a box of Trader Joe's Chocolate Truffles.
Oh.My.God.
They may not be high end chocolates but I tell you the mouth feel of these chocolates is so sexy, silky, and satiny that it feels like I'm committing a sin when I eat them. :wub:
Anyone else a fan?

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Oh yeah ... I have to carefully meter my indulgence in those things, so these days I never buy them, because it's too much temptation to have a whole box in the house. But I happily accept one when offered.

Back in my "bad" old days (food indulgence-wise) I had a real thing for TJ's dark chocolate-covered jelly sticks--both the raspberry and orange-flavored ones. Now buying a tub of those is definitely a temptation torpedo! :laugh:

#324 DCP

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:44 PM

Every Christmas my brother and his wife give me a "munchies" bag containing various dips, spreads, condiments, chips and snacks.
This year they included a box of Trader Joe's Chocolate Truffles.
Oh.My.God.
They may not be high end chocolates but I tell you the mouth feel of these chocolates is so sexy, silky, and satiny that it feels like I'm committing a sin when I eat them. :wub:
Anyone else a fan?

View Post


They used to be a staple for me (when in season), but I've since weaned myself off - the temptation was too great. My SO, on the other hand, finds them flawless (save the mint flavor). She'd rather have them than much pricier and fancy chocolates, and IS a chocolate snob. Go figure.
David aka "DCP"
Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

#325 DRColby

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:53 PM

It might be interesting to pass along that Trader Joes is trying to limit its trade in products coming from China. Cathy and I glean for our local food bank and a week or so ago we picked up a case of Chinese pine nuts and another one of dried fruit and one of the employees told us about the effort.
We hope there is success.

Dave

#326 DCP

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:01 PM

It might be interesting to pass along that Trader Joes is trying to limit its trade in products coming from China.  Cathy and I glean for our local food bank and a week or so ago we picked up a case of Chinese pine nuts and another one of dried fruit and one of the employees told us about the effort.
  We hope there is success.

Dave

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I've seen this story confirmed as well as allegations that the scope of the reduction is even broader. Frankly, I think it panders to non-thinking consumers who associate 'China' with 'poison' and would boycott the chain over such items. With some additional quality control, there should be no risk for these products.

Looks like I'll be having to find alternate sources for some of my staples (Edamame!) soon.

Edited to correct spelling and wording.

Edited by DCP, 16 January 2008 - 05:02 PM.

David aka "DCP"
Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

#327 ludja

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:11 PM

Their Jo-Jos are really dangerous!

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I just tried the peppermint Jo-Jo's last month... they are addictive and I'm not even a huge Oreo's fan.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#328 chappie

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 05:47 PM

I always buy coffee there (love the New Mexico pinon), love the cheeses, yogurts and now some of the cereals and chicken sausages. Plus all kinds of odd staples like tomatoless corn salsa, salt-cured olives, olive oil and vinegars, etc. But the thing that has me coming back more than any other is the Tuscan Pane.

One of the best breads around, for cheeeaaaappp.

I don't buy many prepared meals or produce there. But for what I go for, at the prices, T.J.'s is indespensable.

I've kicked the Ritter-Sport-at-checkout habit. And oh, when I'm in Virginia (Maryland doesn't let them sell alcohol) I enjoy the $3 Buck Chuck shiraz.

#329 jm chen

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:58 AM

I just finished a Shepherd's Pie for lunch, and it definitely has a packaging issue with the gravy boiling over. Maybe it needs to be heated on low for a while and then turned up to high? The "blast on high for 9 minutes" directions seem a little suspect.

Anyway, the pie is definitely somewhat bland. But it's also only 380 calories and 7 grams of fat, so it's on the lighter side, and that explains why the gravy isn't richer and the potatoes are watery instead of creamy. Whether the sacrifice in quality is acceptable obviously depends on what you're looking for.

TJ's frozen stuff varies widely in both quality and healthiness, but I've found several things I keep in the office freezer so I can have lunch for $2.50 instead of $6 to $10 at a nearby deli. For between 300 and 400 calories there's the shepherd's pie, chicken sesame noodle bowl, veggie tamales, corn and black bean enchiladas, a couple different kinds of vegetable lasagna, the aforementioned eggplant parmigiana, and three-cheese cannelloni.

All depends on what you're looking for.
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#330 mizducky

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 11:26 AM

I too have found TJ's house brand premaide frozen dinners rather hit-or-miss ... the big hits in this house, at least for Mr. E, are the chicken teriyaki rice bowls. There have been other frozen dinners we've tried that have been just meh. But then, I find most frozen prepared foods kind of meh almost by definition, mainly emergency things to heat up when there's no time to cook and no access to take-out, so there you go.

TJ's frozen fish, though, I've had great experiences with--not the frozen cooked breaded fliets and such, I mean the flash-frozen raw fish. We had a filet of their flash-frozen wild-caught Alaskan salmon that was extremely impressive--great flavor.

I've always ever shopped TJs for fairly specific items, but find a lot to love them for just based on those itmes. For example, TJ's still have the lowest prices on eggs in this town, at any rate $1.19 for a dozen basic extra-large eggs where other stores' prices are now regularly well over two bucks a dozen.