Trader Joe's Yea/Nay/Meh - 2016

Not sure if there are any burrata fans in here but Trader’s has a nice container that has two burrata in it. Not amazing by itself, but if you dress it with a splash of EVOO and some FRESH pepper and salt it is great with a nice toasted baguette.

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Yah, that burrata is pretty damn awesome for a caprese.


So true. I usually rock a cheese and charcuterie board from Trader’s that includes the Manchego, Honey Goat cheese, the Burrata, those addictive small rice crackers and one of those cured meat varieties they have. Always tons of compliments from those that are over.

Big YAY - TJ’s Garlic Spread Dip!

For those of you familiar with Zankou Chicken’s garlic sauce, this is a milder version of that. We had it last night with grilled chicken marinaded in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, S&P and red pepper flakes, the TJ’s middle eastern flatbread (one of our faves), the smooth hummus and a cucumber feta salad.

sad to say, a nay for the latest version of canned light coconut milk: the price is good ($1.29) but thin and watery, even after shaking. miss the green can.

Huge yay!!! The chocolate passport is back! Not sure if the Varlhona Grand Cru collection is new. But both sets are $10. What a steal. I have enough to last for months.


YAY for the kouign amann (kouignettes, really, but who’s counting?) in the fresh baked goods section. Don’t try to compare them to those from Arsicault or B Patisserie, or the ones you get in Bretagne, but taken on their own merits they’re pretty darned good.

 My TJ's has carried a 5"- 6" diameter almond puff pastry for over a year now; is this what you mean?  I preferred the discontinued frozen, proof-and-bake ones. 
 BTW, the almond kringles have returned to the bakery table, for the holiday season.  I like them best with most of the very sweet icing scraped off.
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The canned Indian curries are back at last.

The frozen Korma Fish Curry with Basmati Rice is a YEA for me, though it is spicier than any restaurant korma I have had. The fish is swai.

The staff had no feedback so far on the brand-new Umami Paste, in a tube. It has, among other things, tomato, anchovy, garlic, and mushroom. 170mg sodium per teaspoon. I bought it but haven’t yet used it.

YEA - to the Snapdragon apples. These have a Honeycrisp parent so they are crunchy and firm, but don’t have the perfumy flavor undertone which I dislike in Honeycrisps. I would say the flavor is similar to Empire. They are rather small but all the Northeast’s apples have been dwarfed by drought.

They had these at the Stonestown TJs last week. They won’t get them in SoMa for a while.

Why not?

I got them in Palo Alto.

Maybe because of its smaller size, the SoMa location doesn’t have many items that I’ve seen at other locations (e.g., raspberry jelly (seriously!), roasted brussels sprouts, and the chocolate passport, which they told me they won’t have for a few weeks).

While I’m writing, I tend to avoid their produce, but the butternut squash are an awesome deal at several of the SF TJs— $1.79 a piece, and I’ve managed to snag a few that are over 5 lbs each!

@greygarious, do report back when you try the umami paste. I’m curious to hear how it compares to something like fish sauce, miso, or mushroom soy. Among other things, it’s got anchovies and olives in it.

i just bought one of these for DH to try out (I don’t eat fish). He’ll be thrilled if it’s spicy.

NAY+ to the new Apple Pie Cheddar. I can taste the cinnamon with which this raw milk cheese is spiked, but neither the cider nor the dried apple.

These aren’t almond. They’re labeled Kouign Amann; they come in a 4-pack, basically muffin-shaped, crunchy puff pastry with a gooey center.

I won’t have a real basis for comparison. I don’t stick to recipes. Typically, when making a sauce, soup, or stew, I add all sorts of savory ingredients as I taste and tweak. If the paste alone accomplishes the same effect, it will be convenient, but that’s all relative to one’s palate.

So DH decided to try this for dinner last night and said it was MEH. It only had one piece of fish, which was disappointing, and he thought the curry part (sauce) was too thick. He did like the flavor though, but when I asked if I should pick up a couple more, he said no. He’s a fan of the Lamb Vindaloo and Butter Chicken ones though – we always have those on hand.

The vindaloo and butter chicken are frozen?

Tried it this morning, as a condiment (mixed with mayo) on my sandwich. Very tasty, and pretty much what you’d expect–like condensed puttanesca sauce, sort of. Seems like it’d be really good for tweaking pan sauces, or things like that. I’d take it backpacking and put it on pasta with some olive oil and tube tomato paste for a super-simple dinner.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr