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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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trader Joe's Peanut Brittle


Dear Trader Joe's Peanut Brittle,

Um, I'm always terribly awkward when it comes to stuff like this. I haven't been trying to avoid you. I know you see me whenever I pass by in the grocery aisle, and probably want to get my attention, but I barely glance over and acknowledge you. I don't find you untasty or undesirable or anything like that - quite the opposite, in fact - but, I guess, because of me and who I am, I just need to move along. It's not you, certainly not you, it's ... just me.

Let me attempt to explain. I remember the first time I saw you, on a wooden shelf brimming of promise of tastiness and extra large peanuts. You simply looked marvelous and I could not resist grabbing a boxful and bringing you home as my wife-allotted "one treat" for the week. But then, once you came home, it was back to another wooden shelf. I let you get lost in a time of homemade cookies and treats and sweets and all sorts of great deliciousness the holiday season brings. I almost forgot about you - I mean, I knew you were there, but there were snickerdoodles and buckeyes and pizzelles and chocolate mint guys and, and .... and all this other stuff. I know you're technically not just a holiday treat, but I regarded you as an afterthought. Please forgive me for that. I mean, I know you're mass-produced for profit, not lovingly, thoughtfully handcrafted like others, but that doesn't mean you can't be amazingly delicious as well.

I remember when I first saw and experienced you for what you truly are. Sandy and I had munched our way through most of our cookies but needed some other treat to crunch on for one of our lazy couch-puppy-Netflix nights. She's the one who said, you know, maybe it's about time we gave you a try. I remember opening the box and foil package inside and then seeing you, beautiful, sweet, thick, nutty, salty, crunchy you, big pieces worthy of several mouthfuls mixed with small delightful bites. I have never seen a peanut brittle that looked like you. And your taste - oh, how it filled me with wonder, with salty-sweet comfort, with the thought of some how, some way, everything was just right with the universe at that moment (inside my mouth, at least). Amazing, like you meant for only me, except by the look in Sandy's eyes I knew she was having the same experience. Here I am, a former journalism major, one who trained and learned how to try and convey thoughts and truths into words on a page, and yet I feel a struggle to even words that sound like what I thought at that moment and time.

I know this sounds over-dramatic, and perhaps a little silly because our time together was so short (was it even ten minutes before Sandy and I ate every bit of you we had?), but I think I love you. No, I do. I do love you. You are perfect, absolutely perfect, and for those brief moments we truly shared, I will treasure forever.

But there's me here too. I know it may be tough for you to understand, being an inanimate food product and all, but I cannot buy you again, at least not on a regular basis. I just don't feel like I can control myself around you. If I buy you again, you'd be gone before I parallel-parked the Subaru outside my front door. There's a reasonable chance you might not make it through the checkout line. Mothers shopping there would have to shield the eyes of their small children from the sight of the wild-eyed, red bearded guy who could not stop from shoving you into my mouth. Sandy would have to decide between grabbing her own boxful or taking me on in a Hunger Games-esque death match for you. And we just can't have that. That, and I'm not sure how well you fit in a healthy balanced diet that I try to delude myself into thinking that I eat.

It's not you. It's me. It's a cliche, I know, but so true. I want you but know I cannot have you.

Please understand if next time I go to Trader Joe's, I don't buy you. I'll try to at least smile and nod in your direction, but even that, I fear, may tempt me beyond my boundaries. Please know what you have meant to me, and know that as long as I walk this earth, I will probably never ever find a peanut brittle as delicious, crunchy, nutty and satisfying as you. Never change.

From my heart,

R
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Seriously, this stuff is the shiznit. Buy at your own risk. Double fives.

Bottom line: 10 out of 10 Golden Spoons

6 comments:

  1. wow, this looks fantastic! can't wait to get some...am putting you guys on my blogroll now! excited to see what comes next...

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  2. Jess, consider yourself warned. It may be addictive. I had the DTs for a full day or two afterwards.

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  3. HILARIOUSSS! I do this also. (writing love songs/poems/letters to inanimate objects...) Especially the last tidbit about the mom having to shield the child's eyes... HAHAHA

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  4. I bought some of this when visiting with my kids. Oh my goodness - let's just say it's a good thing I can't get to a Trader Joe's very often. Peanut brittle is one of my favorite treats, and this is about the best I've ever had... and it was 99 cents. Yes, less than one dollar. Not sure if it was a smaller box than pictured above or not - it looked different, but it was a lot of really good stuff for the price.

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  5. I am a huge fan of peanut brittle and seems like I may have tried TJ's version once long ago... can't recall. After reading this, I was all primed to get some but they did not have it and told me it was likely seasonal. Oh so many months to wait... =(

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  6. I just saw this tonight and remembered your strong recommendation. I picked it up and was about to walk away when...what's this? Dark chocolate coated cashew brittle?! Hmm, what to do. Can't very well get both, that would just be too decadent. Went with the choclate this time. Most excellent. Wonder how it compares...

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