The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe's Volume 4 Slideshow
Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter (10/10 points)
Butter — good. Cookies — even better. Combine the two, and yeah, we’re tempted to never eat a solid cookie ever again. Words fall short.
Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe’s Journey to the Center of the Cookie (9/10 points)
These warm, gooey, choco-swamped fresh-outta-the-oven awesome-with-ice-cream cookies were our constant temptress when we (Russ and Sandy) gave up sweets for Lent. Don’t ask us how we made it through.
Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies (8.5/10 points)
Combine dark chocolate and peanut butter AND wafers and cookies and what’s the result? An empty bag in minutes. Those with low willpower, avert your eyes.
Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies (8/10 points)
Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe's Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds (7.5/10 points)
We tend to think these are a tad overrated, but that doesn’t mean they’re not any good. If these nutty treats were left off the list, our fans would be storming the castle with pitchforks.
Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe’s Falafel Chips (8.5/10 points)
Things we knew could make good chips: potatoes, corn, rice, beans, heck, even kale...but falafels? Oh yeah. This could be the start of the revolution right here. They’re even better with some spicy hummus or guacamole.
Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe’s Shrimp Corn Dogs (8/10 points)
I can hear the cynics from here: “Yeah, batter up anything and deep-fry it on a stick, people will eat it.” Yeah, well, read the product again, slowly: Shrimp. Corn. Dogs. That is not a misprint.
Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe’s Edamame Tofu Nuggets (8/10 points)
Finally, a vegetarian nugget option that, instead of trying to emulate meat, is its own, unique product. Although Asian-inspired, these paired well with any sauce we dunked them in. Fantastic.
Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo (7.5/10 points)
Right, lamb and vindaloo aren’t all that unusual for those familiar with Indian cuisine...but to have a frozen entree of it that’s absolutely delicious, straight out of a microwave, of all things? I mean, it’s microwavable lamb. Now that’s unusual, and that’s before what your coworkers will think of your lunch. Amazing, but it needs more lamby bits.
Easy Dinners: Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Battered Shrimp (9/10 points)
Unlike so many other brands, Trader Joe’s shrimp in various forms consistently have been high-quality winners. Slide some of these in the oven with some fries or perhaps Trader Potato Tots, and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
Easy Dinners: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers (8/10 points)
Believe in Meatless Mondays? Believe in these, too. Dress them up like a regular burger, or experiment with something a little more exotic. No matter what you do, you cant go wrong.
Easy Dinners: Trader Jose’s Chicken in Red Mole (8/10 points)
Real mole’s pretty darn involved. This full, spicy, smoky dinner-in-a-bag is easy enough that you can assemble IKEA furniture while making it. How do we know? That’s exactly what we did. We’re international like that.
Easy Dinners: Trader Joe’s Macaroni and Cheese (8/10 points)
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds (9/10 points)
Roasty, toasty, creamy, crunchy, crispy, smooth, goopy, oily, sticky, salty, nutty, seedy... and absolutely amazing. Tasting is believing.
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Thai Kao Sai (9/10 points)
Forget that it’s a microwavable dish; it’s authentic enough to be on par with some of the best Thai restaurants out there. If you like creamy, coconutty, spicy, and obscenely delicious curry, make this your next lunch.
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Organic Popping Corn (9/10 points)
TJ’s popcorn is one of the best incarnations of the stovetop classic we’ve found yet. Nearly every kernel pops into a big, fluffy piece that’s versatile to go with any seasoning while remaining melt-in-mouth soft. Make up a batch with Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil for an especially good treat.
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Coconut Water Fruit Floes (8.5/10 points)
Beat the heat with this icy sweet treat. There’s some variety with the different fruit floes and popsicles that Trader Joe’s offers, but these are easily our favorites.
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Arancini Bites (8.5/10 points)
You know those breaded mozzarella sticks all the kiddies like? Imagine those, all grown up and dressed real nice, with a respectable haircut and a sense of responsibility. The arancini bites are exactly that, except even better.
Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe’s Breakfast Burritos (2/10 points)
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day, and should be the hardest to screw up. Somehow, TJ’s did. It ought to be impossible for eggs, potatoes, and bacon to be so bland and nondescript, but yeah, you’re better off with cardboard. Much better option: Trader Joe’s Breakfast Scramble.
Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe’s Chicken Breast in Poblano Sauce (2/10 points)
You say poblano, I say po-BLAND-o, and yeah, you’re better calling the whole thing off. Absolutely void of any redeeming qualities. Blecch. Much better option: Trader Jose’s Chicken in Red Mole.
Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi (3.5/10 points)
Really? Just look at the end result. That’s gnocchi??? As one of our readers suggested, they look a lot more like Trader Meow’s Dijon Hair Balls, and after a while, they seem to taste only marginally better. Much better option: Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Frites.
Biggest Disappointments: Trader Jose’s Pizza Al Pollo Asado (5.5/10 points)
Usually, Trader Jose dishes do well for us. If it weren’t for the soggy, crumbly, plain ol’ nasty corn masa crust, this pollo pizza would be delicious. Doesn’t matter how you make it — it’s a mess. Much better option: Trader Jose’s Mini Chicken Tamalitos.
Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe’s S’mores (5.5/10 points)
Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus (8.5/10 points)
A unique take on the classic formula, the edamame hummus certainly tastes the part while retaining a smooth, creamy texture. It’s even better when matched with the TJ Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips, or perhaps our next entry.
Best of the Rest: Trader Joe’s Organic Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chile Salsa (8.5/10 points)
The only thing this salsa lacks is just a tad more heat. Other than that, it’s impossible to argue with this smooth, smoky, full-flavored salsa offering. It’s our favorite Trader Joe’s salsa, and it’s not all that close.