Trader Joe's Yea/Nay/Meh - 2016

Big Yay for me for the Tabouli. I don’t know if it’s new but I’ve been buying it regularly for several months. I’m biased because I think tabouli is one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time and I can’t get enough of the stuff. This certainly beats any store-bought version I have had.

Qualified Yay for the Balela, another middle Eastern salad that I noticed for the first time (right next to the Tabouli - it might have been there all the time but I never noticed it). I’m finding it interesting but too acidic for my taste. I’ll give it another try and maybe try making it myself.

Big YAY too for the Vegetable Root Chips which I’ve also been getting every trip for several months. The only similar product I’ve had is from Aldi and TJ’s is better. I avoid the chips aisle at regular grocery stores - can’t pig out on junk food if you don’t have any in the house - but you can’t avoid the chips aisle at either TJ’s or Aldi and I always wind up with some.

YAY for the Pita Pal hummus, too. I don’t remember seeing this before at TJ’s; I’m sure I would have bought some if it was there. The company is based in Houston so may not be available elsewhere. I discovered it at an HEB a few months ago and it has replaced Sabra as my go-to store-bought hummus.

They were demo-ing the Spanakopita along with several other items. None were as good. I bought a tray but haven’t tried it yet. I’m thinking of it mostly to take to a New Year’s reception so I may be going back to get several trays.

I bought the Sticky Toffee Pudding last trip then forgot about it for Christmas but I had the Sticky Pumpkin Pudding for Thanksgiving and it was good.

I looked for this but didn’t find it. Should have asked but I already had too much in the basket.

The big pot of split pea soup I made with a TJ ham bone was a little weak on flavor but had I reduced the volume, the peas would have thickened too much.
So I added umami paste in increments to make up the difference, which it did.
It was probably about 3" of paste for 5 pints of soup.

NAY to the O Tannenbaum Crispy Potato Snacks. These are waffled pine-tree-shaped crisps, extruded Pringle-like. The flavor is similar. This would be okay in theory, but they scotched the deal by adding spinach powder. The idea was undoubtedly to tint them green without a marked change in flavor, but what they settled on is the color of the bilious pool surrounding the hairball just produced by your aunt’s tabby.


Yay - TJ’s Steamed Mussels in White Wine Sauce. (Frozen) Had this as an appetizer early in Christmas Week, and both of us enjoyed them. Honestly could have downed another box–at least. We’ll buy them again.

I found it in the area of pre-marinated roasts and such. But I have no idea what supplies are like, or whether it’s available at all or most stores.

Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets are rice cakes for people who don’t have cupboard space. The texture is like a stiff, dense, gritty Styrofoam and the flavor a combination of wheat toast and rice cakes with a light application of sea salt.

There’s something odd, but addictive about these but I think I will pass next time and get my standby, the giant Peruvian Inca corn, which has half the fat, more fiber, and a bolder flavor.

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That’s where I thought it would be so I looked at every package in that area but it wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was just out of stock or maybe never available here but I will keep an eye out for it. Thanks.

Didn’t see it today at the Masonic (San Francisco) store. Don’t know if it’s seasonal or anything.

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I think that hummus is a local item- i love/hate that TJs supports smaller local companies (i want that hummus too! But i’m not in texas…)

The balela is an occasional buy for me- it’s not quite something i want to eat as is but i like it ontop of a green salad.

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A few new items froma trip to TJs in CA.
I’m really hoping the vegan butter is available in my nyc store, has anyone tried this? I usually buy earth balance but maybe this stuff is better…

I’m an olive junkie and these little packets were a big YAY from both myself and my olive loving father.

Spotted a new protein powder but wasn’t about to schlep it across the country, great price for a vegan protein powder so I’ll definitely try it soon

The CA store had crinkle cut raw sweet potatoes (which nyc store doesn’t have), and those were handy to just toss on a pan and roast, definitely a YAY
Also picked up a box of about a dozen great baby artichokes that i know are regional, they were about $5 and a huge YAY just steamed and served with a quick lemony mayo


MEH to the Tuscan Antipasto in a jar. Sun-dried tomatoes are pretty good, artichokes are fine, olives are kind of bland…overall it’s okay but not great.

Whoa, the vegan butter is a great addition! I’m a big fan of Miyoko’s vegan cheeses (not the mozzarella though).

In candy bar news, the Dark chocolate gingerbread caramel cookie bar is messy as hell. The shell isn’t stable and carmel dribbles everywhere. Doesn’t taste very good either.


I tried one of harder cheeses from Miyoko a while back at a friend’s place and loved the stuff (fingers crossed one day TJs carries that too!), if you try the butter before i do please comment- i’ll do the same once i get some!

Gotta say i have yet to find a caramel filled chocolate bar that isn’t a total sticky mess to try and eat, it’s one of those great ideas that works best as a truffle or one bite size candy

Thanks for posting about it— I would never have otherwise noticed it.

The Miyoko butter taste great, the first butter alternative I would consider eating regularly.

It has a subtle complexity from the cultures and cashews similar to what you find in their other cheeses and cultured butter. The look isn’t as shiny as a stick of butter or margarine, but I doubt I could tell the differences between this and Breakstone’s whipped butter. There’s a super superfine gritiness to it, but it’s not perceptible unless you’re actively looking for it … and licking it off your fingers.

I’ll be using it primarily for toast and such, but I’m curious to hear how it fares with quality bread or baking— it has 70 mg of sodium per tablespoon. Light salted butter is in the 40s, and other brands of salted butter’s are 90-100.


That sounds fantastic to me…!
I very rarely have actual butter so the cultured flavor will be new to me, and the bit of salt is a good thing if you ask me. Sounds perfect for using as a condiment

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Reboot for this year: Let’s get some more participation going, Hunions!

Don’t know where you live, but a tomatillo or two blendered into the salsa could help immeasurably with the thickening

Thanks for the suggestion. Tomatillos are readily available here in SoCal but I’m not sure that adding more to that salsa wouldn’t change flavor as much as consistency. If I’m going to go to that much trouble I’d just as soon make my own, which I’ve done before. It’s almost all tomatillo anyway.

I asked today. A worker said it’s a seasonal item here and won’t return until next November, usually available only in Nov/Dec. Must’ve run out early last year. I’m putting it on my calendar :wink:.

They were demonstrating the Organic Quinoa mixed with Cowboy Caviar and their 3 cheese shredded blend, topped with fresh squeezed lime, cilantro and guacamole. I skipped the guac but this was delish (I’m a big fan of cilantro). I bought the salsa but went for the Quinoa Duo (with vegetables) instead of the Organic quinoa. Will try it as a side with some leftover Lim’s Korean fried chicken tonight.

I buy the frozen cooked quinoa once in a while, that’s a YAY for me. Convenient for making my work lunch salads in the morning

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