Trader Joe's Yea/Nay/Meh - 2016

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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Yes, they are entrees and come with rice too.

I recently tried a few new and new to me items.

Gyro meat (refrigerated) - Precooked so its a quick reheat in a skillet. Slices are nice sized. Not much flavor so a Meh.

Tzatzki - TJ’s used to carry one I like very much and then it disappeared a few years ago. This is their new rendition. It’s more of a soupy* salad or garnish rather than a sauce. Cucumber is in thin sliced rounds. Flavor not as good as previous version. (*My fridge is busted so I’m using a cooler which may be related to the soupiness.) Meh for me.

Lavash - This was a new to me item. Very nice flavor and texture. I’d buy it again. so Yea!

Have to give a shout out for their cut flowers. The price is great and most varieties last quite a long time.
Big Yea in my book

I asked at the local (Massachusetts) TJ’s about the 4-pack Kouign Amanns. These were not on their list of items available but they DID tell me that the frozen ones will be coming back, which is a big YEA!

They just got the Chocolate Passports in Menlo Park a couple of days ago…

has anyone tried the roasted garlic and onion jam? i picked up a jar without reading the label and was stunned to see cane sugr as the first ingredient. i’ve been trying to minimize added sugar, so i’m thinking about returning it and maybe add a few cloves of garlic to the onions i caramelize in the oven for 4-5 hours –

I was unaware that TJ’s has this. Stonewall Kitchen won awards with their best-selling version, which I love. If TJ’s jam is relabeled SK, it is quite sweet, but I use so little (<1 tsp for an entire English muffin) that I feel the additional sugar intake is negligible.

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I got those Snapdragon apples in the Nashua store. Looked for them in vain yesty in Burlington, MA, but had to go to New Hampshire today so hit the TJ’s there again, getting the last bag they had. A clerk said they are a new item which had limited availability. It was developed at Cornell - I hope it becomes a standard. To my mind, it is far better than its Honeycrisp parent’s floral flavor.

YEA upon YEA for the seasonal Woodchuck hard cider, “Apple Pie” flavor. It has a bit of cinnamon, and is a bit sweeter than their standard ciders. I hear that the pear cider (liter bottle, I don’t recall brand - cat something) is good but haven’t had it. The Dan Armor imported French cider has arrived in Framingham, according to a friend assigned to buy some for me whenever he sees it. This is a seasonal item with limited supply.

The bakery table French Apple Tarte is a qualified YEA. On the plus side, the apples are Northern Spy and Granny Smith, which is better than some bland Delicious or canning apple. But the shortbread crust would have been a lot better with some almond extract, or a good shot of vanilla.

I have no idea if this has been around for forever. But yay to the Nova smoked wild Alaska sockeye salmon.

nay to the $1.49 buttercream truffle. the center was too sweet and one-dimensional.

Yay to Montezuma’s chocolate truffles $8.99 for 16 pieces. Great gift, especially for non-TJ shoppers. Sells for ‎£11.99 in the UK. I tried the colombian cappuccino, eclipse and secret squirrel and they taste not bad.

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Another use for the Umami paste: with mayonnaise & lemon juice it makes a perfect dipping sauce for artichokes.


Nay for the vegetable biryani with vegetable dumpling. The dish is dominated by cumin and needs balance.

That Dan Armor cider is absolutely a huge YAY! It always sells out quickly here. More dry than the classic woodchuck cider if that helps you, but still faintly sweet. I’m planning to go early morning this weekend to try and avoid the worst of the mayhem at my TJs location.
I didn’t see the snapdragon apples on my last visit but i’ll be on the lookout for them

The brussels sprout stalks don’t look so good at the TJ’s I frequent (SF SoMa). Are people having better luck in other locations?

They look not very fresh down in the South Bay.

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