Trader Joe’s yea/nay/meh 2019

(erica) #21

YEA to the frozen ham and cheese croissants, which aren’t croissants at all. Four individually wrapped 4" squares of puff pastry topped with a modest amount of ham and cheese. Thaw slightly before baking. One of these with a salad or soup.makes a good lunch.

And a perennial YEA for the brief, seasonal return of the Sky Valley heirloom navels. They are on the small side this year, perhaps a tad less sweet than in 2018, but still far superior to other navels.


Yes, in my small store but I went to a big one a couple weeks ago and had to ask and the guy said, “well, there are 4 different cases it could be in…” so if you don’t see it, ask. The cardamom is subtle and really works, to my palate anyway.


Maybe if you’re a GenXer or younger. But people were drying lettuce in kitchen towels for a lot longer than salad spinners were even a gleam in their inventor’s eye. Otoh, I’m not sure most GenYers and younger even know what “ktichen towels” are, much less own them, so that could be a potential snag…:rofl:


Whether TJ’s is more expensive than other options really depends on where you live. In Manhattan, and trendier parts of the other boroughs in NYC, that’s not so much the case, especially if you’re not a diehard sales-watcher. (TJ’s is almost always cheaper than non-sale brand-name supermarket pricing, but otoh, TJ’s never has “sales”, and a lot of name-brand staples go on sale pretty regularly and predictably, once you become familiar with the cycles…)

But in general I feel the way you do. I shop there fairly regularly, but not often, mostly buying a few things they carry that I especially like and that are well-priced relative to the alternatives. Which for me are some shelf-stable ingredients, cheese (mostly way better than supermarket cheese and generally cheaper than that (especially “specialty” cheese at supermarkets), and way cheaper than cheesemongers or, e.g., the cheese counter at Whole Foods, even if it’s mostly not in the same class as those). Also some of their frozen foods, but only a few of those… But since I live in a distinctly non-trendy part of Brooklyn, most everything else is cheaper out here and things like produce and even meat are better quality locally (since I can’t afford “local” greenmarket or high-end butcher meat on a regular basis), plus the demographics of my greater neighborhood means having access to a pleasantly wide variety of “ethnic” stuff it’s hard to find anywhere in Manhattan at all, especially not at “ethnic store” prices… I only buy a limited number of things at my chain supermarket, and then I almost exclusively buy what’s on sale that week, otherwise their prices would be higher than TJ’s.


Well, we all have our own circumstances. Agree, I actually never used a salad spinner until just recently and sometimes I don’t even break it out, using the paper towel method.

One of the great joys of my life when I was laid off in 2008 was finding CH. Not so much for the “going out to exciting, excellent restaurants and posting reviews” but for the learning of how to cook better and experiment with new ingredients. I could not afford to go out at that time. We go out once a month or so, fancy place on a special occasion, but for the most part we/I are cooking at home.

The idea that someone needs to buy a salad from TJs is just something I will never understand. Even at my busiest, and I work 60 hours a week, over the last few years, I could always find time to cook. In fact, I found the exercise of prep and cooking a great distraction to the world, work, and problems. It was relaxing to me.

So, while, I can understand a small apartment or being busy, I just won’t ever be buying those processed foods at TJ’s which is what I think people go there for mostly. All the other “ingredients” for cooking can be had elsewhere, same quality, lesser price.

(Eli Paryzer) #26

Hell yea :yum: I love these addictive Thai lime and chili cashews. They have a nice kick to them.

(Eli Paryzer) #27

Yea to the bite size everything crackers. These are pretty good, although a little bit heavy on the caraway seeds.


I’ve never tried those, but “heavy on the caraway” is a total selling point for me…! (Even though it’s not typically in “everything “ seasoning)

(Andrea) #29

Found it, tried it, liked it. Reminds me of the Indian cilantro chutneys that I love.


So glad to hear it!


Ended up stopping at TJs today for a few random things and picked these up-
They are so good!!! I love the caraway flavor in them but i can see how if you’re not a caraway person it could be a dealbreaker.

(Eli Paryzer) #32

I am so glad that you enjoyed the crackers @Ttrockwood

(saregama) #33

I LOVE the zhoug - I don’t make green chutney anymore!

It’s great as a marinade too.

(saregama) #34

Its mustard spicy not chili spicy. I found the flavor muddy, not very mushroomy. But it’s decent as seasoning - like a bouillon powder, maybe. I just didn’t think the “mushroom” flavor was very evident.


I disagree. Off the top of my head, I cannot find Valrhona 70%/85% cheaper than $3. Neither can I find alcohol-free vanilla cheaper than $9. During the holiday season, all butter puff pastry is just $4, and they have real white chocolate chips during that time for super cheap, too (can’t recall exact price). Dried baby bananas for $2 is cheaper than any other place, too. Beecher’s cheddar cheese is cheaper than at Beecher’s. Their fruit is usually better quality and they have a great return policy. I am happy paying a little extra knowing I can just return a bag of oranges if they are dry. It’s just so much less hassle. (Try returning fruit at a regular supermarket or even at Aldi.) Trader Joe’s has many items that can’t be beat for quality/price and many unique items I would otherwise find in Baltimore.

(Eileen Schwab) #36

I have a neverending love of any of their spanakopita varieties. Some of the varieties were funky and watery, but they all tasted really good. I love the current spanakopita the best

(saregama) #37

PSA to avoid the Organic Ground Beef in a vacuum pack (refrigerated) - too much gristle.

(erica) #38

Put the wet leaves into clean pillowcase. Twist the open end in your hand, then swing it in circles as though jumping rope.


That too. Since I rarely need to wash and dry large amounts of salad greens, I usually just use clean towels of the sort I think of as “kitchen” (versus “hand”) towels - thinnish woven cotton, rather than terrycloth - roll 'em up the long way and snap the ends a couple of times…

(Andrea) #40

Nay for favorite things disappearing! My closest store hasn’t had the cherry pie Lara bars since the last time they moved aisles, today the frozen just coconut chunks were nowhere to be found, and only organic unsweetened dried mango (still good, just $1 more than conventional).