Posts Tagged ‘trader joe’s’

DaVinci Chianti – 2015 – DOCG – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s


trader joes, DaVinci Chianti DOCG 2015, review, priceMarch 5, 2018

This will bring a smile to your face.  Perhaps not a Mona Lisa smile, but a smile nonetheless.

Today’s wine comes from a wine cooperative in the town of Vinci in the Chianti region of Tuscany.

While this is a nice wine with no bad characteristics, there are equally good wines at Trader Joe’s from Tuscany for the same or lower price.  Now, a dollar or two or three isn’t much to quibble about.  But if that’s a consideration, then look further on the shelves.  Otherwise, if you haven’t tried this wine yet, here’s your chance to help the local economy and help support small local businesses as well as enjoy a very nice Chianti.

And if you’re not near a Trader Joe’s, there’s a “wine finder” on their website which will help locate another store near you that sells their wine.  How nice!  And why can’t other wine companies do the same?   Price $9.99.


Trader Joe’s – Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese – Food Review


Trader Joe's, hatch chili mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionFebruary 9, 2018

This is another grown-up mac & cheese. This has a nice earthy depth of flavor but less complex than the recently reviewed Truffle Mac & Cheese.  This product adds Hatch Chiles to a classic cheddar cheese base.  If you’re worried that the chiles make this mac & cheese spicy hot, no need for that.  Only a very very mild heat can be detected in sporadic bites when a bit of the green chili actually finds its way to your fork.  Mostly, the chiles just adds a secondary complementary flavor to the cheese adding to the depth of flavor.

Trader Joe's, hatch chili mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionAgain, half the container was more than adequate as a side to dinner.  While I prepared this in the microwave, using the oven, taking another 20 minutes or so, might add a nice browning to the top. But I leave that experiment for you.

What’s a Hatch Chili?  Well it’s hard to say other than these chiles were grown in or around Hatch, New Mexico (according to information on the box).  For those interested here’s the Wiki link.

Price $2.99 per frozen box (two servings per box)

Calories, 260 per serving (170g)

Trader Joe’s – Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah – Food Review


trader joes, toscano cheese, syrah, review, price, calories, nutrtionFebruary 9, 2018

This is a nice cheese, a blend of parmesan and cheddar implied by the label.  This cheese is mild with a gentle nutty sweet flavor. The texture is medium firm, and definitely not hard. The Syrah wine soak doesn’t add much to the flavor, but puts a pretty purple coating on the outside.  The cheese slices nicely and is not crumbly.  This is suitable for a cheese tray if you don’t mind some odd-shaped pieces as the cheese is sold as a wedge.

trader joes, toscano cheese, syrah, review, price, calories, nutrtionNow the interesting thing about using this on a cheese tray could be watching people try to decide if that purple coating on the outside is edible, or not.  I’m not saying.

price $9.99 per pound   calories, 120 per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Truffle Mac & Cheese – Food Review


Trader Joe's, truffle mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 26, 2018

Have a handkerchief ready to catch the drool starting to form at the edge of the mouth about halfway through the cooking time as the earthy aromas start to waff out of the microwave. This is one grown-up Mac & Cheese.

Five different cheeses and truffle extract give this a very deep earthy wonderful flavor.  All the preceding adhere to short spiral shaped macaroni. This is decidedly different from the kid’s $1 a box glow-in-the-dark stuff that cooks up on the stove.

Trader Joe's, truffle mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionAt $3.49 a frozen box, this might seem a little pricey.  And it is.  But consider what it would cost to make this yourself.  Just the Gouda, white Cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano alone would probably use up all that $3.49. One 290 calorie serving of this is also pretty filling and satisfying.  A little goes a long way as a side to some lighter fare.

Price $3.49 per 12 ounce box

Calories 290 per serving (2 servings per box)

Trader Joe’s – Zimbabwe Small Lot Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review


Trader Joe's, Zimbabwe, review, price, whole bean coffeeJanuary 26, 2018

The package lists this as a medium dark roast.  However the coffee looks and drinks more like a medium roast.  This is one of Trader Joe’s better African coffees.  There’s just a touch of bitterness in the coffee.  The bitterness, as well as the body, can be easily adjusted by varying the size of the grind and/or brew time.  For comparison, this is the opposite end of the coffee spectrum from a Starbucks-like coffee. But the problem may be the farm the coffee came from, the New Year’s Gift Estate.  Will it only be available every New Year’s?

Price, $8.99, 12 ounce bag.

Ocarossa – Cuvée Rosso – NV- Wine Review – Trader Joe’s


Trader Joe's, red wine, review, price, ocarossa, cuvee rosso, red gooseJanuary 20, 2018

This is a medium-bodied, but still dry and earthy red wine. There are no negatives to this wine. It is an unpretentious red table wine. Pour it straight from the bottle and enjoy with food.  Think red when selecting a food for pairing; red sauce, spicy red pepper, red meat.  The lighter body makes this a good wine to help get the food down. There’s no dainty sipping at the dinner table.

I like this wine.  However, it’s a different wine than most on the shelves today.  The flavor profile or style is different from most of its neighbors.  I’m going to call this old-school wine; earthy, dry and good.

Two things are of interest.  One is the somewhat disjointed backstory on the bottle explaining how this wine got its name.  There are mosquitos, birds, woods, a pond, a red goose, a zen master (?) and of course grape vines in the story.  All this, I suppose, means the grapes are grown in harmony with nature.  And the name?  “Oca rossa” means red goose in Italian.  Ocarossa is the red goose that lives in the pond.

trader joe, wine, review, cork, ocarossa, red blend, priceThe second noteworthy item is the cork.  This is corkscrew-less cork.  Just grab the top of the cork protruding from the bottle, twist and pull the cork until out.  Everyone needs one of these for their cork collection.

Price $5.99.

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chili – Recipe


recipe, food, vegetarian, soy chorizo, beans, chiliYes, this is a vegetarian recipe.  And yes, there should be no reason for your meat lover to turn up their nose at this.  If they do, it’s only because this is more than they can handle.  So maybe you need to trade in for a new one?


Chili at it’s best is a dump, heat and eat food.  And basically, so is this recipe.

What’s missing for a meat eater from a typical vegetarian chili is the meat texture and grease.  The Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (or similar product) adds the texture.  Browning the Soy Chorizo in enough vegetable oil adds the “grease.”  The textured soy protein used as a base for the Soy Chorizo is an oil sponge.  The trick is to saturate the “sponge” with so much oil that it can’t absorb any more.  So start to “brown” the soy chorizo in about a tablespoon of oil, and as the oil is absorbed keep adding oil until the soy chorizo can’t absorb any more.  This will leave enough oil left over to help disperse the spices throughout the chili, leave a nice sheen over everything, and even create those small pools of oil that float to the top.

Between the spices in the soy chorizo and the chili beans, this recipe produces a pretty spicy chili even without adding additional spices.  In fact, it may be too spicy for some.  So be sure to taste before adding additional spices.

Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base contains salt.  For me that was enough salt without adding additional salt.

The easiest way to remove the plastic casing from the soy chorizo is, to cut the tube into about 3  pieces, then cut the plastic casing the long way to get to the soy chorizo.  The plastic casing is not edible.


1 – 15 ounce can chili beans with liquid

1 – 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained but reserve liquid

1 – 12 ounce package Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, plastic casing removed

1/2 –  medium onion, roughly diced

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly diced

1 – generous tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base in one cup of hot water

4+ – tablespoons vegetable oil, see notes above

additional seasonings and spices to taste, e.g., cumin, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, red pepper, thyme, salt, etc.


Brown onions, garlic, and soy chorizo in oil, adding additional oil as needed to keep a “moist” consistency (see note above.)

Add chili beans, vegetable base in water, drained red kidney beans.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in reserved liquid from red kidney beans to adjust thickness as needed.  Simmer with an occasional stir for about 10 minutes to distribute spices.  Taste and add additional spices as desired.


Trader Joe’s – Black Diamond Mature Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Food Review


TJ, trader joe's, black diamond mature reserve, extra sharp cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 12, 2018
For a 4-year-old cheese, this cheese is surprisingly soft, but still firm. There is little crumbling when cut. There are no obvious crystals visible in the cheese. However once in the mouth some very fine crystals can be detected crunching between the teeth.  Crystals form as the cheese ages.

This is a very tasty cheddar with a nice and noticeable amount of natural sharpness. The sharpness lingers on the back of the tongue long after the cheese has left the mouth.  A little cheese goes a long way.  Unlike some other cheddars, the word sharp on the label has real meaning.  Some people may find this too sharp.  Without doing a side by side comparison, this is the best cheddar at TJ I’ve reviewed so far.

Calories 120 per ounce, price $8.99 per pound

Trader Joe’s – Cinnamon Apple Snack Sticks – Food Review


Trader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 12, 2018

So light you’ll eat the whole bag and never notice it. That is until you step on the scale.

These are mildly sweet, gently flavored cinnamon and apple, multi-grain snacks. Like all snacks they’re easy to like and even easier to eat. The grains used are;  corn flour, rice flour, and potato fiber (I know, not a grain).  They’re labelled gluten-free.

The really interesting thing about these is the shape. They are small hollow tubes. How do they do it?


Trader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutritionTrader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutrition

Price  $2.49 per 6 oz. bag

Calories  140  per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio Cheese – Food Review


tj, trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, cheese, parmigiano reggiano stravecchioJanuary 7, 2018

Recently reviewed here was a Trader Joe’s Parmesan cheese.  That was found to be okay, but nothing very special.  Today, reviewed is a Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio cheese imported from Italy by Trader Joe’s.  The first question is, what is stravecchio?  Stravecchio simply means; old, mature or extra aging.  This cheese is aged for 36 months, or 3 years, depending on how you count time.

In comparison to the previously reviewed TJ Parmesan cheese, this cheese is still hard, but easier to cut because it tends to crumble somewhat.  As for flavor, there’s no comparison.  This cheese is tons more flavorful and complex. There’s some nuttiness to the flavor but also hints of sweetness contained in an earthy base.

This is a very nice cheese to snack on.  It would be difficult to use this for a cheese tray, as it does not cut well into nicely shaped cubes due to its crumbly nature.  For cooking and sprinkling on salads, I still prefer the inexpensive everyday grated cheeses in the plastic containers.  At $14.99 a pound, this is a cheese that really needs to be savored by itself, rather than diluted with other food.  And when it is savored by itself, it’s a savoring experience.

Price $14.99 per pound   Calories, 110 per ounce (28g)

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