Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Category

Trader Joe’s – Pumpkin Tortilla Chips – Food Review


Trader Joe's, Pumpkin Tortilla Chips, review, price, calories, nutritionNovember 5, 2017

Almost burnt pumpkin pie crust, that’s what these taste like.  You know, no matter what we do, some part of that pumpkin pie crust is going to be burnt.  Now I’m not talking about the stuff we buy from the store.  That never seems to have burnt edges.  I’m talking about the stuff that comes out of our oven.  Whether it be a store-bought frozen pie cooked at home or a from-scratch homemade pie, once it gets in our oven there’s some part of that crust that’s going to be burnt.  Wrap the edges with foil or stick a pin in a voodoo doll, some part of that crust is going to get burned.  The oven makers must program that into their ovens.  There’s no avoiding it.

Trader Joe's, Pumpkin Tortilla Chips, review, price, calories, nutritionThese chips don’t taste like the absolutely burnt portions of crust, but like the almost burnt pieces next to the very burnt stuff.  More specifically, it’s the parts of the crust where the filling overflows onto the edges.  You know what those are.  In fact, those pieces of crust are actually the pieces I break off and eat first.  They sort of build anticipation for the rest of the pie with the pumpkin filling covered with whipped cream.  Hmm,  sounds like I know what I’m having for dessert tonight.

But enough about pumpkin pie.  The first ingredient on the label of these chips is corn.  So these are mostly corn tortilla chips with pumpkin puree used to add some pumpkin flavor. The back of the bag suggests these will hold up to any salsa.  I have no reason to doubt that since they are very stiff chips.  But it’s the taste of most salsas I question.  It seems to me that what’s needed is a pumpkin pie dip/salsa to make these complete.

Price   $1.99 – 7 ounce bag  Calories  140/ounce (28g) (about 8 chips)

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Trader Joe’s – BBQ Chicken Teriyaki – Food Review


trader joe, bbq chicken teriyaki, nutrition, price, calories, reviewNovember 5, 2017

There’s plenty of chicken meat.  But read carefully, this is dark leg meat.  While perfectly tender, the dark chicken meat has a stronger flavor than chicken breast.

At only 150 calories per serving, this is surprisingly filling.  At 3.5 servings per bag or 525 calories per bag, if you split the entire bag with another person that’s only 265 calories.  For those few calories there are 31 grams of protein, which is a big chunk of the daily requirement for protein.  Combine this with some steamed frozen vegetables and even a little butter or olive oil on the veggies and we’re looking at a filling meal at around 400 calories total.  That’s not bad.

trader joe, bbq chicken teriyaki, nutrition, price, calories, reviewThe teriyaki sauce is thin, sweetish, and soy sauce based. The sauce is hardly what is commonly called a BBQ sauce here. But the sauce imparts enough flavor to the chicken.  The sauce will not cover the flavor of the leg meat.  I didn’t find that to be a problem, so the preceding sentence was just a note for you.  There are two packets of frozen sauce in the bag.  I suppose you could only cook half the chicken in the bag using just one of the sauce packets, leaving the rest of the frozen chicken and the other sauce packet for another day.  Cooking is no more than heating in the microwave.  Coming out of the bag, the chicken looks like various shaped dark rocks.  Some of those rocks are so big you may wonder if they came from turkey legs instead of chicken legs.  These must be some big chickens.

Price $4.99     Calories  150 per serving (3.5 servings per bag)

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Trader Joe’s – Cento Flat Fillet Anchovies – Food Review


October 29, 2017
This is more of a note than a review.  I use anchovies on homemade pizza. I should expand that to include anchovies in other things.  Now that cooler weather is here, at least north of the equator, it’s oven season in our house.

I don’t believe Cento is unique to Trader Joe’s.  So you’ll possibly find these elsewhere.  But at Trader Joe’s they cost $1.49.  That’s not bad since a larger supermarket usually prices anchovies around $2 per can.  And they seem to be a staple at Trader Joe’s.  You’ll most likely have to look for them on the bottom shelf where other canned fish are kept.  That’s where I find them at my Trader Joe’s.

The anchovies themselves seem to be a little less salty than other brands I’ve tried.  But that doesn’t hold them back from adding that anchovy pop to a pizza.  Good stuff at a good price.

Calories 25 per 16 gram (about 2 servings per can)     price $1.49 per can

Trader Joe’s – Soy Cheese Alternative – Mozzarella Style – Food Review


trader joe's, food, review, nutrition, price, calories, soy cheese alternativeOctober 29, 2017

For a not-cheese, this is not bad. It has a neutral taste and a thicker texture than a real mozzarella.  While the product name stresses the soy content, it also contains milk protein and milk as parmesan cheese according to the label.  The label does not specify what kind of enzymes were used for the parmesan.  While mozzarella is a mild cheese, it still has a better taste and texture than this alternative.

On heating in the microwave, the aroma of parmesan is liberally released.  It smells good.  However the melted “cheese” does not retain the taste of parmesan.  This cheese also does not melt as nicely as mozzarella in the microwave.  It becomes somewhat puffy and hardens.  There’s none of that stringy mozzarella texture.  The cheese was not tested in stove top or oven recipes.  When diced up for some salad, it added some texture to the salad, but not much in the way of flavor.

With milk as one of the ingredients and an unknown source for the parmesan enzymes (some enzymes are animal based), what’s the purpose of the cheese?  For people who might be allergic to milk, it contains some milk components. For those looking for a vegetarian cheese, it’s not labeled as vegetarian.  The cheese is labeled as 99% lactose free.  So I guess for people who are extremely lactose intolerant, this may be an alternative.  However many milk-based cheeses are naturally relatively low in lactose.  So for those who can tolerate some lactose, a milk-based cheese may work for you also.  Regardless, only you know what kinds of food you need to avoid or what foods work well for you.  And of course, only you know what foods you like!

Calories 70 per ounce, price $1.99 (8 ounce package)

Trader Joe’s – Collier’s Welsh Cheddar Cheese – Food Review


TJ, trader joe, Colliers Welsh Cheddar Cheese, price, review, nutrition, calories
October 16, 2017
A cheddar with hints of an aged Gouda?   This is a fine tasting, slightly crumbly, but still creamy in the mouth, cheese.  While the length of aging of this cheese is not specified on the label, it’s just on the verge of developing those cheese crystals like an aged Gouda.  This is a “mature” tasting cheddar, meaning it’s not a mild cheddar.  But it’s also not a sharp cheddar. It’s an extremely nice and enjoyable cheese.

Collier’s refers to Welsh miners, called Colliers (think “coal ers”). The miners used to take this cheese down in the mines for lunch.  And for an interesting movie, based on real events in 1984, explaining how these same miners found common cause with a seemingly unlikely group, try Pride (2014) while you snack on the cheese.

Price  $7.99 per pound      Calories  120  per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Organic Nicaraguan Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review


TJ, trader joe, Nicaraguan Whole Bean Coffee , price, reviewOctober 16, 2017

This coffee is somewhat: weak, bitter and bad tasting.  The negatives go away some on cooling to a slightly sour taste.  While not especially good for a Trader Joe coffee, this is still likely better than some coffees at other supermarkets for the same price.  While taste is a personal preference, and some people may like this coffee more than other coffees, there are better coffees at Trader Joe’s for the same price or less.

The coffee is labeled as organic.  The coffee is packaged in a tall, thin bag which makes it somewhat difficult to get the coffee out, especially near the bottom of the bag.

And if you look at the label this is a “honey processed” coffee.  I guess some things don’t change no matter where people live.  “Oh honey!  Can you go process some coffee for me.  And, take out the trash.”

Price $8.99 (12 ounce bag)

For another take on this coffee, try Become Betty here.

David Frost – Shiraz Blend – 2015 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s


Trader Joes, wine, review, price, David Frost, Shiraz blend, South Africa. 2015October 03, 2017

There’s no doubt about it this is on the strong side of the wine continuum.  It’s also a little harsh on the mouth and throat.  The wine is mildly fruity with a bold taste. The harshness mellows out some as it sits in the glass allowing some decent earthy tannins to peek through.

The combination of this and a tomatoey lasagna did not work well.  Paired with a second pasta dish, this did not work equally well. Finally, paired with a spicy bean curry, this balanced and stood up to the curry nicely.

For the price this is a decent wine if you like strong wines, don’t have a sensitive throat and are on a budget.  In fact, it generally gets good reviews in other places on the web, with a few people even stocking up when it’s available.  Price $6.99.

And, for the curious,  David Frost is a South African professional golfer who as a kid used to pick grapes in the family vineyards to buy golf balls.

Trader Joe’s – Five Country Espresso Blend Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review


trader joes, coffee, whole bean, five country espresso, review, price, fair trade, organicSeptember 23, 2017

Since espresso is a method of making coffee and not a particular coffee bean, the name is slightly misleading.  However, since most coffees, including this one, can be used in espresso machines, we won’t quibble.  And since I don’t have an espresso machine, this coffee was prepared by my usual French press method.

Typically coffee beans meant for espresso machines are dark roasted.  This coffee fits in the Trader Joe’s medium-dark roast category (labeled dark roast on the can).  It produced a nice cup of coffee in my press.  It was largely indistinguishable from my everyday Tarrazu drinker.   Perhaps it was a little more bitter.  Regardless, it should work nicely in an espresso machine if that’s your preference.

For the extra two dollars per can over the Tarrazu, what are we getting?  This coffee is labeled both organic and fair trade.  That could be one reason to spend the extra two dollars.  As for the word espresso on the can, it’s your decision whether this will produce a better espresso shot than your current coffee.   Price $8.99  (13 ounce can)

Trader Joe’s New Zealand Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar – Food Review


Trader Joe's, New Zealand Sharp Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionSeptember 23, 2017
I didn’t know cheese ate grass?  This is a grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese from New Zealand.

While the package says aged 6-12 months, I suspect my package was aged at the low-end of this range. The cheddar was not very sharp at all. The cheese was dense and semi-soft with no crumbling while being cut. There was a mild cheddar flavor and sharpness to the cheese.

At $6 per pound this is a good cheese, but nothing special.  The price is right for using this as you would any other mild cheddar that fills the refrigerator cases in most supermarkets. But the good news is, once it’s wrapped for sale, it no longer needs to be fed grass!

Price $5.99 per pound      Calories 120 per ounce.

Trader Joe’s – Sriracha English Cheddar – Food Review


Trader Joe's, Sriracha English Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionSeptember 6, 2017
Looking for love in all the wrong places.  Yep, just like the song says, that’s what I was doing.  But wait, no, no, no,  not that kind of love.  And, . . . not that kind of love either.  I was looking for the love of a sharp cheddar.  Don’t anyone urban dictionary that.  And if you do, don’t tell me what it means.  Please don’t.

This cheese is a mixture of English aged cheddar and sriracha sauce.  And that aging of at least 8 months, according to the label, is one of the factors that helps produce sharpness in a cheddar.  But the sriracha is the thing that puts this over the top.  Here the addition of sriracha is more than a marketing gimmick.  The sriracha is actually noticeable and good.  Mixing in the sriracha sauce gives the cheese a looser, more crumbly, texture.  There’s a nice contrast between the noticeable, but still not extreme, hotness of the sriracha and the smooth creamy feel of the cheese as it warms in the mouth.  As those two factors meld together, the sriracha starts to take over producing a sharp finish as it all exits the mouth and starts down the throat. It’s a different kind of sharpness than a 100% cheddar.  Still, it’s a nice flavor and experience.

This is the third or fourth cheddar mixture I’ve tried at Trader Joe’s.  All of them, including this one, have been winners.

Price $8.99 per pound     Calories 100 per ounce

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