Trader Joe's Yea/Nay/Meh 2017

YAY: Just Beets beet chips. Good crunch, very beety flavor. If you’re one of those very few weirdos who don’t like beets, you definitely won’t like these.

YAY: Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese (frozen). I think their regular frozen mac & cheese is pretty decent, for what it is, and this is just the regular mac & cheese plus Hatch chiles. The only downside is that the Hatch version is in 12 oz portions as opposed to 14 oz for the regular.

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Meh to dried lemon slices, which are very pretty but taste gross in a limey soapy old sort of way.

Yay to the butternut squash fresh ravioli (made in Italy) — the pasta is delicate & thin. I served them in fresh sage browned butter and my mom made me go back to TJs for a couple more packages.

Yay to the jarred mustard garlic aioli, which has a nice sharpness and not a lot of calories.

Yay to the Unexpected Cheddar, which is delicious if you’re a fan of dry-ish aged cheddar w crystals.

and the Underwood canned pinot noir wine. (The TJ canned fizzy rosé was pretty awful tho!)


I’m not sure i understand this as a snack product…! Does the back of the package have serving ideas? I could only imagine using these in hot tea or maybe sangria…

To me, the Unexpected Cheddar is similar to, but moister than, Dubliner. I like both.

Since @Souperman mentioned in this post that the Dark Chocolate Lover’s bar might be a repackaging of the Casa Luker 1906 Tumaco 85% Extra Dark bar:

And regarding the Milk Chocolate Lover’s Bar, Trader Joe’s says ‘we’ve been able to develop a milk chocolate version with this same supplier’. I looked up Casa Luker’s milk chocolate product line, and looks like they have a 45% milk as well.

Its definitely a yay. For $1.69, its a big yay.

The above pics are baking chocolate, I couldn’t quite find their bar chocolate product line.


I’ve seen the “Milk Chocolate Lover’s” bars at TJ’s already.

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Just stumbled across this fascinating document about how Casa Luker was driven out of business by violent threats in 2013 but was resuscitated by a partnership with USAID that also created a larger chocolate co-operative.

Recall of the kholrabi salad blend! (Which i really love)

Tried the TJs tamales tonight. Steamed and served with brisket chili. Loved the green chili and cheese one, the beef one lost out to the chili. I’ll have to try it by itself next time.

Are these the ones made in Mexico?

Last time I got TJ sea salt it had a lot of sand in it- a lot. Ruined a pasta dish completely. Since then I’vestuck with Morton’s kosher or Maldon sea salt. Or the pink Himalayan, but I don’t use that much.

The Halen Môn sea salt was fine regarding sand. though at that price I wont cook with it but just use it to finish.

Interestingly they import bread all the way from France now. Just noticed this milk bread, which is new to me.

I wonder if these are made by Brioche Pasquier. I love their pain au lait. Bonus points if they have the chocolate version!

Those green chile and cheese tamales are the ONLY TJ product I actually love and have cravings for. I also like their basic balsamic vinegar and the California olive oil - but I can get good balsamic and good olive oil any number of places. Those tamales, though …

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Are these the fresh ones in the refrigerator case? I’m guessing they aren’t frozen.

Frozen, the cheese and chile are the best of a bad lot. The chicken and beef ones are terrible. The only thing saving the chille/cheese ones is drenching them with a 1:1 mix of their jarred tomatillo salsa verde and hatch chile salsa.

Thanks. We used to get the chile cheese many years ago, but haven’t in a while. I’ve noticed some pork, I believe, in the refrigerator case here in the Boston area. I’ll have to give them a try soon.

It was the frozen ones. I will pick up the chili/cheese ones again but not others. I put mine with chili that I made. I don’t have a microwave so I steamed them as i was heating the chili.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr