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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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

So it's pretty much a proven fact that it's a bad idea to go grocery shopping when hungry. Everything looks better and tastier and you're bound to buy more prepackaged junk food because your thought process is more in tune with instant gratification and not reasonable meal planning.

This is especially true at TJ's with all of their snack food and how they pile it on every conceivable display they can.

Sandy and I went there for our somewhat weekly supply run after I picked her up from work one night but before we had a chance to eat dinner. Our stomachs were both growling as we walked through the doors to see what Joe had traded for us this week. We behaved going through the first couple aisles, getting cheese, our latest installment of soy chorizo, some fruit, etc. You know, real food we actually needed. But when we turned our cart around the corner about to go up through where I call "Temptation Lane", there it was.

Huge, bright, happy endcap display of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. It was like the centerpiece of the entire store, brimming with promise of seasonal sweet tooth satiation. They might as well have had a guy dressed as Trader Joe approach us and say "Aye, Capt'n, these be the best I scrounged for you this week" in some false pirate accent. There was no way we weren't picking up a box before scurrying home and plowing our way through.*

Well, they aren't bad, but they're not that great either in the end. Imagine taking a candy cane, smacking it with a hammer til there's nothing but a pile of granule-y dust, smacking it more and putting it in the middle of your classic Joe-Joe/knock-off Oreo with a little mint flavoring. That's about what there is to them. The package claims to have "real candy cane pieces and rich cocoa in every bite" - both parts are a bit of an overstatement, as it's literally minute minty particulate matter and the usual not-so-rich-but-okay chocolate cookie wafer with the typical sugary filling holding it all together. The red food coloring dots they put in the filling are made of deception and falsehood, not good old candy canes. Of course, I should have questioned the accuracy of the packaging as they are clearly named Joe-Joe's, not Joe-Joes. I'm not sure what the apostrophe is trying to express ownership of ... the cookies themselves? No, I just bought them, they're mine, whoever you are, Joe-Joe. Of course, like any cookie of its type, enjoying them with a little milk makes them a little better too.

Anyways, they're neither remarkable or unremarkable, They're just a seasonal variation on a classic. Just because they were the centerpiece of the store doesn't mean they should be the centerpiece of your holiday cookie tray - make some good old fashioned homemade cookies for that. The Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are good for a little snack or to tuck into a lunch, or okay to grab if you're running late to a casual holiday party, but for me, that's about it. I wouldn't mind getting them again, but I wouldn't insist either, and I won't miss them when they're put away for the season in a few weeks. Sandy seems like them a little more than I do, and she gave the Joe-Joe's 4 out of 5 golden spoons. Girl loves her candy canes, I guess. I'll give them 2.5, right down the middle, for total of 6.5 out of 10 golden spoons.

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*It's about a week later, and about half of them are still around. That'd be a household record for a truly irresistably deliciously tasty sugary munchie if, you know, that's what they were.

4 comments:

  1. These are delicious and awesome! Maybe you got a bad box. They filling is creamy and yummy. The cookies are crisp and delicious. I get bits of peppermint in every bite.

    Oh wait - I get it. You are right...they are terrible. No one buy them...I'll take them off your hands :)

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  2. Where can I buy some to send to my friend in Switzerland for Christmas? I am in the UK :)

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  3. These are one of the very best things in Trader Joes! I almost wish they carried them year round, they are that good. Far far better than the Oreo version!

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  4. seriously, such a blah review?? these are one of my FAVOURITE things ever anywhere!! when they come out each season I squeal and have an internal debate over buying one box (be sensible) or more (no, because i'll eat them ALL in a day or two)... there's a whole facebook page dedicated to them!

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