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, January 24, 2011

Trader Joe's Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce

In our household, Tapatío has always been the prevailing hot sauce. I like Cholula and Texas Pete just as well, but I think my Hispanic wife really likes the Mexican man in the big sombrero on the Tapatío brand's bottle. He's a handsome little devil, isn't he?

Now, we have a new challenger. Trader Joe's Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce steps into the ring. Let's check him out.

Yet again, we gotta call TJ's out on the inconsistency of the brand name. This is a Mexican-inspired food product, so it should be from Trader José. If a dude named Joe offers me a jalapeño hot sauce and a different dude named José offers me another hot sauce, you can bet your burro's bottom I'm gonna pick the one José recommends.

And secondly, aren't jalapeños usually green? Then why are they red on the bottle? Maybe there are red jalapeños. The ones at Subway are always green and the ones on my nachos are always green. If there are red ones, I've never seen them.

But anyway. This sauce packs a potent punch. There's a little chili pepper meter on the side of the bottle, and it's like 7/8 red. That means it's 7/8 hot. The other 1/8 must be vinegar. Which is its only weakness.

It's got true jalapeño pepper flavor and it is most definitely spicy. It's not deathly spicy, though. It won't kill you. Even if you're a white person.

But if you totally don't like spiciness, then this isn't for you...not for the faint of heart, indeed. I can handle moderate quantities of it. I've become a little immune to hot stuff, but I definitely have my breaking point. And I've got some advice for you singles out there: if you're going to marry into a Mexican family, LIKE SPICY FOOD.

We've noticed that in PA there is a much lower tolerance to spice than in CA. All the German and English heritage around here has propagated a love of bland-ish foods. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and beer is probably the boldest meal the Quakers and the Pennsylvania Dutch can handle. Although...I don't think either one of those groups drinks beer at all...hmmm...So there's that, then.

Getting back to the topic, this hot sauce is tasty and spicy and it pretty much does what it's supposed to do. Not sure if we've seen him upset our reigning champ, Tapatío, quite yet. But he's a contender, that's for sure.

Use it to give your nachos some extra kick. Or your burrito...or your...whatever. You get the idea. Sonia gives it 4 out of 5 Stars. Same here. Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

6 comments:

  1. I love this stuff too. One thing I wanted to let you know is, all (green)peppers turn red as they ripen, so jalapeno do too. And unlike bell peppers which become sweeter, these type of peppers become hotter. You know cayenne and the like of dried red chilies? They started out green. A little different flavor profile. Im a chillies lover as you can tell! :)

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  2. Tapatio is definitely my sauce of choice for dipping or as a general condiment, but the TJ's jalepeno sauce is perfect for making hot wings. I'm pretty sure you'll find a lot of Pennsylvanians who enjoy a good batch of hot wings with some bleu cheese or ranch dressing, celery, beer and football. :)

    To make the wings:
    1 - Bake on a broiling pan at 375 for about 45 minutes turning once half way through.

    2 - As the wings are cooking, heat up some TJ's jalepeno sauce in a small pot on the stove - - and add as much butter as you need to adjust the spice. (more butter - less spicy heat)

    3 - When the wings are done baking, put them in a large bowl with the heated sauce and butter and toss to coat.

    4 - Serve while still hot with celery, bleu cheese or ranch dressing, and Yuengling Lager (or your choice of beer).

    **Wings are also great with some Trader Joe's All Natural Barbeque Sauce mixed in or instead of the hot sauce if you prefer sweet with your spice.

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  3. Thanks to both of you, honeybee and DUI...very informative and knowledgeable! And indeed, DUI, we would serve our hot wings with Yuengling Lager.

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  4. Uh, wow... how did this crap make it to the top of my search results? Be that I cannot find what I want, and your blog takes up a page of search results: I'll respond.

    "This is a Mexican-inspired food product"
    No, it really isn't. Hot sauces are world wide. And this is an U.S. style hot sauce. But good for you, support stereotypes.

    "aren't jalapeños usually green? Then why are they red on the bottle?"
    You'll find your answer under the Ingredients list on the label (read much?) "RED RIPENED JALAPENO PEPPERS". If you're going to blog about food, shouldn't you first learn about food? About how vegetables & fruits change color depending on ripeness? Foods can also change color when they're cooked. How could you possibly not know this very basic information?

    "ones at Subway are always green and the ones on my nachos are always green"
    Restaurants know sissies cannot stand foods that are actually hot. They also use pickled jalapenos, to decrease the caspian level further.

    ...had to create a fake account to post this :(
    Livejournal, AIM, really? This Blog site needs to upgrade.

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    Replies
    1. 'This is a Mexican-inspired food product'
      "No, it really isn't. Hot sauces are world wide. And this is an U.S. style hot sauce. But good for you, support stereotypes."

      Yes, it really IS a Mexican-inspired food product. It's called "Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce", and guess where the jalapeño pepper was cultivated, takes it's name from, and is primarily grown? Since you clearly don't know, I'll tell you - Mexico.

      If you're going to respond so snippily to a blog about food, shouldn't you first learn about food?

      [Posted from my LiveJournal account for extra-special love!]

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  5. Yes, Some One, usually we're very sissified at the thought of fictional lion characters from works of C.S. Lewis lying in wait in our hot sauce, especially when posted by apparently another fictional character.

    I believe the word you're looking for is "capsaicin." That is what what makes spicy things spicy.

    You can contact Blogger if you're concerned about how up to snuff some of the technical aspects of the sire are.

    As for your major concern: Hey we never said we're experts. And red jalapeños are kinda a rare sight. Point is, I think we can chalk it up to a silly oversight. Live and let live.

    Now how about finding a nice Craiglist board to go troll? :)

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