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, March 21, 2011

Trader Joe's Double Roasted Salsa

The beautiful adobe hacienda on the bottle of this salsa is apparently located in Monrovia, CA, and is home to a Mexican-American family that toils day and night, roasting fresh green peppers over an open fire, then peeling them, and then roasting them again for this fine semi-spicy salsa. It's a shame we never went to visit it while we still lived in Cali.

I really like the packaging for some Trader Joe's products. This is definitely one of them. The picture on the label makes me want to fly down and visit my wife's family in Oaxaca, Mexico immediately. I don't know if it looks anything like the picture on the bottle, but I imagine that it does. I have been brushing up on my español lately. I even know how to type "ñ" now on a US keyboard. That little thingy on top isn't a "squiggle," I've learned, but rather it is a "tilde," as in Tilda Swinton. And I'm hoping, since this blog shows up fairly well on Google searches, that certain unsuspecting individuals who are searching for info on how to type that "ñ" will wind up stumbling upon our page, falling in love with our unique style of epic first-person narrative food reviews, and becoming big fans of our blog. So for those good people, I throw the following bone: simply hold down "alt" and then type "164" on your number pad. Voila: ñ.

Another aspect of TJ's packaging that I'm a fan of is their special spice-o-meter in the shape of a little chili pepper that appears on most of thier salsas and hot sauces, despite it's occasional inaccuracy. This will be the third product we've reviewed that has such a spice-o-meter, following in the footsteps of the jalapeño hot sauce and the chunky salsa. This one falls in between the first two, and appears to be approximately 2/3 red. Sonia and I think that's an overestimation of this salsa's spiciness. I'd put it somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2.

There is significant cider vinegar taste in the sauce. I thought I detected a pickle type flavor, but there are no pickles or cucumbers in the ingredients. It does also taste like roasted peppers, however, my taste buds are not sophisticated enough to distinguish between single roasted peppers and double roasted ones. There's a bit of a limey tang as well.

The ingredients are all remarkably simple and natural, without any bizarre-o chemicals or preservatives. There are vegetable bits present, but not chunks. It's good for chip-dipping, and it would probably be good for topping off enchiladas or tacos, too.

All in all, a decent salsa. I could stand it with less pickliness, and I prefer big chunks of tomato and pepper. Sonia's assessment was basically the same as mine. We both give it 3.5's, placing it solidly within the "not bad" category.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Been looking for a salsa since leaving southern CA and having access to so many good ones. Sounds like the vinegary-ness (which is probably what you're tasting in terms of pickles) of this one would be a turn off for me. Glad to know before I go buy. Thanks for the review Señor Rodgers! (Check out my tilde! What??) :-)

  2. If you're on a Mac, just hold down the Option key while hitting the "n" key: ñ. You're welcome.