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Trader Joe's Products (2002–2011)


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Thanks, LindsayAnn, for the topic. I am a TJ regular. I enjoy the selections they offer and I become frustrated when a favorite item is discontinued.

I purchase many staples from TJs, like the Milton's Bread (great price savings) and the TJ partially baked Filone bread (delicious sliced and fried in olive oil). Also,their jar of capers...I prefer the larger buds they offer. I like the King Arthur Unbleached flour. I see that their whole wheat flour no longer is King Arthur, but is now a TJ brand.

I usually buy my dairy products from them. Good prices on butter.

I also buy their eggs...used to buy the jumbo, but recently I have been buying the organic eggs.

A discontinued item that I was so sorry to see leave was their dry mix spelt soup. I used it for a base for many dishes using farro. Fortunately I stocked up on it quite a bit, but even that stash is coming to an end.

For a quick and tasty vegetable, I like their frozen broccoli and water chestnuts with the packet of ginger sauce.

I enjoy the Mochi ice cream...yummy...for a quick and easy sweet at the end of a meal. They used to carry a Ginger Ice Cream that I loved, but it has disappeared. :-(

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

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I will start by answering my own questions! Maybe someone will find these useful on their end...at least I hope so.

What are your favorite finds? And why do you love these items so much?

Peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets-salted and unsalted but the salted are the best, frozen taquitos beef variety, frozen breaded chicken tenders, frozen burritos are good - many variety options here, their cheese section has some great finds - i specifically enjoy many of their goat cheeses (chevres), refrigerator pre-cooked beef tenderloin - it's quick to microwave, re-heats good if you cook alone and have leftovers, and its yummy, their frozen mac and cheese (I think its 2 portions but I eat both it's sooooo good and homemade tasting), I love their frozen appetizer items...so many to choose from here.

What are your recent finds?

Recent finds are the frozen sheppards pie...its yummy, two servings (if for dinner I eat both) low cal and low fat, and has a good ratio of veggies (corn, peas, green beans) to gravy to LARGE beef chunks to potatoes. Nicely seasoned, mmmmm mmmm mmmmm

Any items on regular rotation in your shopping cart / cabinets?

The peanut butter pretzels mentioned above, pre-cooked beef tenderloin, frozen mac and cheese and taquito's. I also usually have some of their cheeses in my fridge. Oh, almost forgot - also their "cutties", aka Clementine :) YUM!

Any disappointing items that we should avoid? Why?

I know I have had some purchases that immediately ended up in the garbage can....although I believe this is the case when my personal taste preferences do not favor the item. I do not believe it is USUALLY because of bad qaulity or taste. I can not think of any items off hand, but I know I have had some. I will try to think about this in more detail and post/update later

Any favorites been discontinues in their product mix/rotation?

Sadly yes. My most favorite item ever that they discontinues is their refrigerated UNCOOKED (but fully prepared/stuffed/breaded) Chicken Cordeon Blues. Two to a package, they were HUGE, the package of both was over 1.5 pounds.....they took a while to took (60 mins in the oven, sometimes more I beleive) but they were sooo sooo good. I loved these. Better than I can make on my own (my filling always oozes out - no matter what technique i try), and theirs were sooo much better than the frozen ones I have tried. Chicken breast, stuffed/filled (to their trader joes limit) to the brink with THICK ham, swiss cheese, seasoned, rolled in bread crumbs, these were to die for. I still scan the fresh meat case everytime I pass by (at the entrance of my mainstay TJ)...in hopes they will return.

sniff, sniff....

I am sure I will think of more favorites to post later, and hopefully I will remember the items I tried that I did not prefer. I will be back soon to update....and to HOPEFULLY read your TJ opinions.

Linz

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

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Thanks, LindsayAnn, for the topic.  I am a TJ regular.  I enjoy the selections they offer and I become frustrated when a favorite item is discontinued.

I purchase many staples from TJs, like the Milton's Bread (great price savings) and the TJ partially baked Filone bread (delicious sliced and fried in olive oil). Also,their jar of capers...I prefer the larger buds they offer. I like the King Arthur Unbleached flour.  I see that their whole wheat flour no longer is King Arthur, but is now a TJ brand.

I usually buy my dairy products from them.  Good prices on butter.

I also buy their eggs...used to buy the jumbo, but recently I have been buying the organic eggs.

A discontinued item that I was so sorry to see leave was their dry mix spelt soup.  I used it for a base for many dishes using farro.  Fortunately I stocked up on it quite a bit, but even that stash is coming to an end.

For a quick and tasty vegetable, I like their frozen broccoli and water chestnuts with the packet of ginger sauce.

I enjoy the Mochi ice cream...yummy...for a quick and easy sweet at the end of a meal. They used to carry a Ginger Ice Cream that I loved, but it has disappeared. :-(

Thanks Pedie for "starting" the response for me. You beat me to the punch :biggrin: which in this case is a good thing since I was hoping that this topic would be successful....I was hoping for it's success because I love TJ THAT much. I think they should be paying me for advertising them so!

I promise I DO NOT work there, nor am I affiliated with them. I am a teacher...not a salesman (although I used to be, haha).

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

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I love to shop at TJ's and there are several things I buy on a regular basis. However I have delayed shopping lately because I am trying to use up stuff in my pantry and I have also been away from home for the past several days and will be gone a bit longer.

I was very disappointed at my last visit when I could not find the White Bean Hummus.

In November I purchased a significant stock of the "instant" chestnuts - shelled chestnuts that need only one minute in the microwave to be ready to serve or add to any recipe one can imagine.

Love the frozen puff pastry. Love most of the frozen vegetables. Frozen desserts.

Love the produce in the sealed packages - particularly during "plague" season. Hate to buy fresh produce that has been fingered and sneezed on by people carrying various "bugs" and so on.

(It has been three years since I had a cold or the flu and I do not get flu shots.)

Breads are great and when I don't feel like baking my own, I purchase TJ's.

Love the different varieties of coffees and note that the strength of the dark roasts are such that one needs less to produce a decent brew. Also buy the various fruit "teas" and regular teas.

Love the little bite-sized toasts - they are always fresh and crisp. The different types of crackers with the TJ brand.

The dried fruits when I haven't made my own.

And the nuts. The huge cashews "world's largest" really are! Always fresh because of the extremely rapid turnover.

And the soups!

It is difficult for me to get out of TJ's without a significant amount on my receipt. I have several of their extra large insulated bags as well as the other type and almost always have to add at least one paper bag.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I like the King Arthur Unbleached flour.  I see that their whole wheat flour no longer is King Arthur, but is now a TJ brand.

sadly, tj's is discontinuing all king arthur flours.

king arthur website blog

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I found my last receipt from TJ's just to show just how much I love the store. (And have been a fan since the very beginning and even before it was actually TJ's.)

15.jpg

This was shortly before the beginning of the "Klatch: A week without shopping" exercise.

And as you can guess, it was not at all difficult for me for me to go 2 weeks + without shopping.

However the next time I visited TJ's I spent less than thirty dollars, which has to be a record for me.

I rarely spend as much as shown on this receipt, but my weekly purchases, usually with lots of cheeses, produce and dairy, add up.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I like the King Arthur Unbleached flour.  I see that their whole wheat flour no longer is King Arthur, but is now a TJ brand.

sadly, tj's is discontinuing all king arthur flours.

king arthur website blog

That is bad news. They always had the best prices anywhere on King Arthur.

I used to be a huge fan of Trader Joe's, but over time they have migrated more and more to selling only their own branded products, which I find to be hit or miss. These days I use them for only a few select items.

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I attended one of King Arthur's "Baking Across America" classes recently and the topic of Trader Joe's came up. They suggested e-mailing, writing, or talking to the store managers about stocking KA; supposedly Trader Joe's is more customer service oriented than some other grocers. They (TJ's) have reintroduced other items; with enough pressure, maybe we can get 'our' flour again!

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I attended one of King Arthur's "Baking Across America" classes recently and the topic of Trader Joe's came up. They suggested e-mailing, writing, or talking to the store managers about stocking KA; supposedly Trader Joe's is more customer service oriented than some other grocers. They (TJ's) have reintroduced other items; with enough pressure, maybe we can get 'our' flour again!

I did email TJ corporate as soon as I heard about them dropping KA flour and this was their response:

"Thank you for writing to us about our switch to Trader Joe's label

flour. We are happy to have carried King Arthur Flour for over 10 years,

they are a good company and are very good at marketing the King Arthur

brand. However, in order to continue to give our customers a

high-quality flour at an impossibly low price, we needed to switch to

the Trader Joe's label.

Like King Arthur, we do not own mills or produce our own baking mixes,

we must contract with others to produce our flour. It did not make sense

for us to continue to pay costs associated with marketing a brand name,

when we can contract for flour of comparable quality and pass the

savings on to our customers. The retail for Trader Joe's Flour will be

$2.99 for the same size bag. We hope you fill (sic) give Trader Joe's Flour a

try."

All I know is that a lower price won't be enough to entice me to switch from KA flour. That was what I told them in my original email. (Actually I used TJ's 'Contact Us' form.)

I think they are trying to only carry their branded products. I've found myself buying less and less there over the last year. In my experience the quality consistency isn't quite what it used to be. Plus they've dropped some of my favorites (cheese blintzes!!! gone!).

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(cheese blintzes!!! gone!).

Not at mine!

Oh, not fair! The blintzes our store now carries are non-dairy. They look like cheese but aren't. I'm not sure what exactly they use (soy, ???) but they are not cheese. I guess these things must be regional.

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I stopped at Trader Joe's today, and among other things, I bought two products I've never purchased there before: a tub of the caramel cashew cookies (outstanding) and a little package of Chewy Crisp Tom Yum Cashews (these are odd, more like a savory spicy cashew brittle with a hint of sweet and I can't decide if I like them or not.

I regularly get nuts, dried fruit and cheese (with three kids, the price can't be beat). We're also big fans of the take and bake breads for those times when you just don't feel like baking. I can, for lunch, just pop one of the ciabatta rolls in the toaster oven, and voila -- a crusty warm roll with soup. I can get a similar product at my local supermarket for about twice the price.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 2 weeks later...

I generally stay away from all prepared frozen stuff, too many "exotic" tings in there and too many cooking tricks to ensure everything is cooked in what ever minutes it takes, but there are exceptions. The Tarte was already mentioned, that thing is so good that I'd not hesitate serving it to anyone and I doubt I could make them any better myself. Just the kids aren't the biggest fans, they prefer the pizza, and TJs frozen pizza is really much better than the major brand stuff you find elsewhere. That they are made in italy in real wood fired ovens is nice, but also a bit silly IMO. I love Italy, my favorite country to visit, but to import pizza from there is a bit much. TJs does have a lot of things from Europe, they are (still - I believe) owned by Aldi, the super discount grocery from Germany (where you can actually buy California nuts for a 5th of what they cost here in California, go figure.....). They have nice salads and finally have open fruits. I'm not a fan of packs of 4 or 5 or what ever, I prefer to pick my own and take as many or as few as I need.

They do have good meat, though I'm suspicious of meat packed in one of those drum like packs, they have some inert gas in there instead of air which keeps it good longer. But how long was it in there? They have some precooked ribs slathered in sauce that are really quite good. And the tri tip steak is also really good.

Great selection of coffee too. Some very good breads, nice little loafs that we more or less finish with one dinner, which is neat.

I love their cheese selection, same brands as at Safeway, but much much cheaper. Some nice upscale olive oils and the one in the big round bottle with a pour spout is quite good for general cooking. The balsamico in the little square bottle is good too, for regular I use the Kirkland brand, which is also very good (and for very special occasions I use the expensive stuff my cousin makes in Italy, yummmm!).

I've not have had any luck with their frozen fish though, fishy tasting, too moist, just not good. Lamb chops on the other hand are very good.

Some nice snack food and bars too.

I like their own brand beer (not sure if they sell it all over the US? It's made in San Jose by Gordon Biersch AFAIK and is quite authentic). I don't usually buy wine there, our house wine is Meridian which I get at Costco and we get 3 bottles from a local wine store each month for more fancy (around $15) selections.

Nuts and all the dried stuff is great and a wide selection. Flowers are cheap and keep just as well as any others. I've almost always been lucky with their avocados too, the baby heirloom tomato mix is fun to use, as well as the little onions.

Service is always great and yes, returning stuff is no problem. I've had their muffins mold on me more than once and didn't even return them, just told them and that was that. (I don't buy those anymore).

I go there once a week now, as my son has Karate in the same strip mall. Add the farmer's market on Sunday and I rarely go to Safeway anymore, Whole Foods for specialties like dry aged beef or fresh fish (if I don't get it at the market).

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 1 month later...

PLEASE PLEASE if you like the chicken taquitos try the beef...in my humble opinion they are even better than the chicken....although both are yummy.

I bake mine in the toaster...if in a hurry I microve first and then back at the end to crisp up. I sometimes melt shredded cheese on top, but usually just dip em' in sour cream. They are yummy even plain those....the cheese and sour cream just further the yummy factor....but of course cheese does that for any food (I am a cheese lover in all forms...hehe)

I like the taquitos as an after-class fast meal (I have classes from 6 to 9pm and so am normally dying for dinner by the time I get home) just microwaved (not ideal, but speedy) and then with the Trader Joe's guacamole to dip into. Best pre-made guacamole I've encountered. (Although I'm not terribly fond of the version with salsa in it. I like my salsa and my guacamole to be separate.) (Not as good as making it yourself, of course, but at least there's less messing about with if the avocados are ripe enough.)

Chicken and beef are both v. good, so I tend to buy a package of both and then bag them up into mixed serving sized portions to keep in the freezer. :)

As mentioned the pork carnitas is also quite good.

I'm also guilty of buying the not-terribly-fantastic asparagus risotto - I think of it less as a risotto and more as a variation on 'comfort food' mac'n'cheese for days when I want something kind of unexciting that I don't have to put any real effort into eating.

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  • 1 month later...

I bought a package of their Pumpernickel Pretzel Sticks and was surprised to taste the flavor of caraway seeds.

Since when does pumpernickel have caraway seeds? :blink:

Are they confusing pumpernickel with rye bread?

 

“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”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 2 weeks later...

Run. Do not walk.

Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies. :wub:

OMG.

A deceptively simple little maple-ly sandwich cookie double-stuffed with a vanilla cream filling. There are only 15 cookies in a box which can be a curse (because you want to eat more) and be a blessing, too (because you want to eat more...but shouldn't).

Any other fans of this cookie out there?

 

“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”

 

Tim Oliver

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Toliver, I have not tried these (I probably will), but I do know that the Caramel Cashew Cookies are absolutely wonderful, on their own, or especially topped with ice cream.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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i got a box of maple leaf cookies for my bday, which i promptly squirreled away & then ate - in it's entirety - in about 2 days. OMG is right. thank god there's no TJ's in my state, or i would be in some deep, deep, mapley-flavored trouble...

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Run. Do not walk.

Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies. :wub:

OMG.

A deceptively simple little maple-ly sandwich cookie double-stuffed with a vanilla cream filling. There are only 15 cookies in a box which can be a curse (because you want to eat more) and be a blessing, too (because you want to eat more...but shouldn't).

Any other fans of this cookie out there?

But how could they possibly be better than the Dare maple-leaf cookies? :biggrin:

The little round ginger snaps and the freeze-dried green bean snacks are my downfall.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Toliver, I have not tried these (I probably will), but I do know that the Caramel Cashew Cookies are absolutely wonderful, on their own, or especially topped with ice cream.

I will now make a bee-line to the maple cookies, but Snowangel, I have to agree. Those Caramel Cashew Cookies are like crack, and must be handled accordingly. I only buy them when I'm having company to help me eat them, or I will scarf the whole tub in a couple of days. They are just an amazing combination of good.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Toliver, I have not tried these (I probably will), but I do know that the Caramel Cashew Cookies are absolutely wonderful, on their own, or especially topped with ice cream.

I will now make a bee-line to the maple cookies, but Snowangel, I have to agree. Those Caramel Cashew Cookies are like crack, and must be handled accordingly. I only buy them when I'm having company to help me eat them, or I will scarf the whole tub in a couple of days. They are just an amazing combination of good.

That is my problem with the little meringues - especially the mocha flavored. I have to be very careful because I am diabetic but I think I go into a sort of fugue state after eating just one. :blink:

I place three on a little saucer, close the tub, put it away in a closed cabinet and go to another room before I eat the first one. Otherwise.......disaster. :biggrin:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

No one has mentioned my favorite: Porcini Mushroom Pizza. Imported from Italy. Absolutely delicious. Nice with a salad for supper. Nice if you cut it into little squares and serve with cocktails.

I keep a running list of what people recommend, what I've tried that I don't like and what I've tried that I love.

Fire Roasted Balsamic Vegetables. Nice base for all sorts of veggie mixes in the lunch.

I find it about half and half. Half of what I try, I like. The other half, meh.

Cappucino Craving Cake. Yech.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Service is always great and yes, returning stuff is no problem. I've had their muffins mold on me more than once and didn't even return them, just told them and that was that. (I don't buy those anymore).

I've never had any problems with finding mold on my TJ's baked goods, but if I don't eat them promptly they get moldy within 2-3 days, with the exception of the Sourdough Bread.

The local Whole Foods, OTOH, is notorious for having moldly baked goods and expired dairy products on their shelves.

I go there once a week now, as my son has Karate in the same strip mall. Add the farmer's market on Sunday and I rarely go to Safeway anymore, Whole Foods for specialties like dry aged beef or fresh fish (if I don't get it at the market).

Yikes! I think we may shop at the same Trader Joes.

I've not had much luck with fish from TJ's either, with the exception of swordfish when they do carry it.

As far as frozen meals from TJ's, my family's current favorites are the taquitos, the Mandarin Chicken, and the new Chilaquiles.

Cheryl

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  • 1 month later...

I found dried wild blueberries (the tiny ones) at our TJ's yesterday. I'm looking forward to using those in scones and waffles. :wub:

Also, we bought the frozen fire-roasted bell peppers and onions, the frozen seafood blend ( shrimp, calamari rings and bay scallops) and the nearest jar of spaghetti sauce, heated all three together, seasoned it with some Old Bay and served it over some leftover rice. It turned out to be a pretty good no-brainer dinner after a busy, exhausting day. We'll definitely keep those items on hand.

We like some of the wines, too. We're strictly red-wine drinkers, and not very knowledgeable about wine - we just know what we like, and we like it when what we like is cheap! :biggrin:

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