Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Trader Joe's No-Tomato Chicken Lasagna with Spinach & Roasted Garlic Bechamel Sauce

I hate to start this blog off with a negative review, but as fate should have it, I ate this Trader Joe's Chicken Lasagna today for lunch and was not impressed. Sonia tried the same lasagna last week and warned me that it was quite bland. She didn't even finish hers, which is not like her at all. She's not one to waste food, simply on principle. There are starving children in Africa.

Anyway, this lasagna is virtually devoid of flavor. It boasts "No-Tomato" on the label. Well, friends, if God didn't want lasagna to have tomato, he would have banished the enigmatic fruit/vegetable from the nation of Italy back when the usually-delicious pasta dish was being developed some centuries ago. But of course vine-ripened tomatoes thrive in the lush gardens of Mediterranean countries, and are, therefore, an essential ingredient in many Italian dishes.

I found myself pining for the taste of tangy tomato sauce so greatly, that I raided our miscellaneous drawer for some leftover hot sauce and salsa packets from various fast food restaurants. After adding them, I found the flavor much improved, and was able to finish the dish. Now, in the lasagna's defense, I did prepare mine in the microwave, not in the oven. The label does say microwaving is a viable option, however we all know things generally come out better when cooked in the oven.

I'll be honest...I don't know what Bechamel sauce is. It is apparently green, mushy, and flavorless, save for a hint of garlic. Furthermore, I could detect neither the taste nor the texture of chicken in this so called "Chicken Lasagna." If there was chicken in the food, it was evidently pureed beyond recognition, and somehow sapped of all indigenous flavor.

I will say the lasagna feels pretty light...my stomach is not in agony, nor do I have any weird aftertaste haunting me, reminding me of the experience...I do not remember the price of the item. Somewhere in the ballpark of $3, I believe. With all of the delicious items TJ's has to offer, I do not recommend trying this one unless you're really desperate for something new. Two out of Five Stars from Nathan...One out of Five Stars from Sonia. Bottom line: 3 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. I am currently enjoying this lasagna for lunch. I quite enjoy it. The bechamel (a white sauce) is pleasantly flavored with roasted garlic, though there isn't a discernible spinach flavor. The chicken is ground meat, but I've gotten multiple chunks throughout. It is a bit greasy and could use a bit of ground pepper, but I'm a fan of this lasagna. Sorry yours wasn't as enjoyable.