A Shopping Guide to Trader Joe's Slideshow

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Best Frozen Treats: #1 Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream
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Best Frozen Treats: #1 Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream
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Russ has all the credentials of a world-class ice cream expert. He and his wife Sandy deemed the Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream to be not only Trader Joe's best ice cream product, but one of the best flavors they've ever had from any brand. It earned a perfect score and a place in our elite Pantheon of Great TJ's Foods.

Score: 10 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Frozen Treats: #2 Gone Bananas!
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Best Frozen Treats: #2 Gone Bananas!
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These tasty fruit slices put other frozen bananas to shame. There's a thick, rich coating of chocolate in every bite-size piece. I think these might have gotten a perfect score too, if not for poor Sonia's taste aversion to chocolate bananas since a traumatic incident involving a shady Los Angeles ice cream vendor circa 1985. Still, they fared pretty well, considering.

Score: 9 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Frozen Treats: #3 Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Best Frozen Treats: #3 Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Throw on the old "40oz. to Freedom" album and check out these classic ice cream sandwiches for an end-of-summer treat.

Score: 9 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Frozen Treats: #4 Dairy Free Mochi
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Best Frozen Treats: #4 Dairy Free Mochi
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If I were lactose-intolerant or vegan, the Dairy Free Mochi would be my new favorite food. As it stands now, they're still pretty high on my list. The coconut and chocolate flavors scored a lot better than the mango one, and the outer shell was a bit tougher than I'm used to, but all in all, these are a highly respectable accomplishment in dairy-free deliciousness.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Gluten-Free: #1 Gluten & Dairy Free Homestyle Pancakes
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Best Gluten-Free: #1 Gluten & Dairy Free Homestyle Pancakes
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I'm not sure whose food allergy-ridden home these "homestyle" pancakes were modeled after, but they're pretty tasty for lacking two basic pancake ingredients.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Gluten-Free: #2 Masala Dosa
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Best Gluten-Free: #2 Masala Dosa
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These are nice little Indian appetizers made of potatoes, onions, and spices all wrapped in a bread-like rice flour crêpe. And, ooh, they come with coconut chutney!

Score: 7 out of 10.

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Gluten-Free: #3 Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix
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Best Gluten-Free: #3 Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix
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The texture of these brownies is a little funky, but they really nailed the flavor of regular brownies. They're kind of like big chocolatey marshmallows. Just add an egg, oil, and water to the mix. Easy enough that even I could bake them.

Score: 7 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Gluten-Free: #4 Organic Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats
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Best Gluten-Free: #4 Organic Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats
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A healthier take on the classic Rice Krispies Treats. Not a bad approximation of the original, but these Organic Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats taste and feel... well, a little too healthy.

Score: 6 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Seafood: #1 Oven Ready Breaded Cod Fillets
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Best Seafood: #1 Oven Ready Breaded Cod Fillets
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These are flaky, light, and soft fish fillets that will make you feel like you're dining in a British pub.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Seafood: #2 Maryland Style Crab Cakes
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Best Seafood: #2 Maryland Style Crab Cakes
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I've visited Maryland enough times to know what a decent crab cake should taste like. Considering these are frozen and relatively inexpensive, I'd say you won't do much better unless you're rich or you live in Baltimore.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Seafood: #3 Mahi Mahi
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Best Seafood: #3 Mahi Mahi
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Russ and Sandy made some delicious fish tacos using this frozen mahi mahi. It seemed fresh enough, and it was full of big, moist fishy flakes.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Seafood: #4 Scallop Bites
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Best Seafood: #4 Scallop Bites
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These Scallop Bites are a bit flatter and more greasy than the photo on the box might lead you to believe, but they're highly snackable and scallopy nonetheless.

Score: 7 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Fruit Snacks: #1 Pear Sauce
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Best Fruit Snacks: #1 Pear Sauce
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When Trader Joe's does things with pears that are usually done with apples, good things happen. Consider their Pear Cinnamon Cider. Trader Joe's Pear Sauce continues the trend: touches of lemon and lime juice make this one killer saucy snack.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Fruit Snacks: #2 Peach Pops
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Best Fruit Snacks: #2 Peach Pops
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Keep a pair of scissors next to the freezer if you pick up these peach pops. Just like Fla-Vor-Ice, but way more natural, and full of actual peach chunks.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Fruit Snacks: #3 "this strawberry walks into a bar..." Cereal Bars
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Best Fruit Snacks: #3 "this strawberry walks into a bar..." Cereal Bars
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There are at least four different flavors of these bars, and every kind I've tried is really good. Organic grains, B vitamins and low-fat make these guilt-free, and they're generally less expensive than their Nutri-Grain counterparts.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Best Fruit Snacks: #4 Organic 100% Natural Fruit Wraps
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Best Fruit Snacks: #4 Organic 100% Natural Fruit Wraps
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Moist fruit roll-up-esque snacks that cost less than a buck a piece. I'm a fan.

Score: 8 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Spousal Discrepancy: #1 Non-Fat Plain Frozen Yogurt
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Spousal Discrepancy: #1 Non-Fat Plain Frozen Yogurt
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While too tart and yogurty for Russ (his score: 2 out of 10), Sandy ate up the non-fat plain frozen yogurt like a true fro-yo fanatic (her score: 4.5 out of 5).

Score: 6.5 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Spousal Discrepancy: #2 Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa
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Spousal Discrepancy: #2 Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa
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Sandy loved this corn and chile tomato-less salsa and gave it 4.5 points. For its syrupy-sweetness and lack of heat, Russ denounced it with a 1.5. Stangely enough, Sonia and I tried it after it was reviewed by the Shellys, and we couldn't agree on it either! For its unique flavor and whole kernels of sweet yellow corn, I'm inclined to agree with Sandy. Sonia sides with Russ for the reasons above.

Score: 6 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Spousal Discrepancy: #3 Chicken Caesar Wrap
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Spousal Discrepancy: #3 Chicken Caesar Wrap
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Our local convenience store chain, Wawa, sells an awesome chicken Caesar wrap. Because Trader Joe's version didn't taste exactly like Wawa's, Sonia slapped it with a 2. We did agree that the dressing on Trader Joe's wrap tasted more like peppercorn than Caesar. Good thing I like peppercorn. I gave it a 4.

Score: 6 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?

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Spousal Discrepancy: #4 Sugar, Chocolate, & Coffee Bean Grinder
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Spousal Discrepancy: #4 Sugar, Chocolate, & Coffee Bean Grinder
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The Shelly's food feuds continued with this gimmicky little product. Sandy's love for the goodies inside the grinder prompted her to shave some directly into her mouth on occasion, while Russ deemed the product the Paris Hilton of the Pantry. "It looks good," he said, "but doesn't do much of anything worthwhile." Sandy gave it a 4, Russ a 1.5.

Score: 5.5 out of 10

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What's Good At Trader Joe's?