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, March 29, 2011

Trader Joe's Lavash Flat Bread

Am I wrong, but there's something to be said for good, cheap carbs, right?

Probably the most famous cheap carb is the beloved Ramen noodle package. Well, "beloved" might be a stretch, but it's a pretty universal experience for college kids to subsist on them for long stretches of time. I certainly was one of them. My sophomore year, I sincerely doubt I went a day without a meal that involved either Ramen or leftover pizza from the dinner shift at Papa John's. It certainly helped that they were 10 for a buck at the local grocery shop. Some nights I'd eat two packages, other nights I'd mix in some frozen veggies and maybe make a piece of chicken. But man, all the Ramen ... I don't know how I didn't die from malnutrition. Once I was really, truly, ineffably sick of them, my grandmother came to the rescue and sent me a Ramen noodle cookbook. I had no idea about all the different possible uses for Ramen ... all the different stirfries and noodle-based dishes, and even things like salads and pizza (using the noodles as a crust). That kept me going on them throughout the rest of my college years until I could finally routinely afford better starchy goods, like shells and cheese.

Anyways, I love me some carbs. I could never be a legit vegetarian because I like meat waaay too much, and Dr. Atkins and I would never be dietary BFFs because he'd be slapping bagels out of my hands way too often. And the more ways I can use a single form of carb (like the Ramen noodles) the better.

That's why I like Trader Joe's Lavash so much. It's a pretty simple product, it's just a legal-document sized ( 9.5 x 13) rectangle of rather plain baked dough. But, like the package says, this is some fairly versatile stuff, and there's a lot of it. The first time Sandy and I broke it out, we used it as a crust for a thin crust basil pesto pizza. It was good enough that we've used it a couple more times as a crust since then. When baked, it gets really crispy and crackery when the sides and corners get browned and curled up. I'd definitely recommend if using it for a pizza, let it bake for a little while longer than you'd figure otherwise as the middle can get a little sogged down with sauce, etc, but rebounds nicely if given the proper oven lovin' time. But that's not the only good use of the lavash. I've made a breakfast wrap or two with it, and it held up with the eggs and cheese well. Sandy's taken it to work a couple times and used it like a tortilla with some rice and beans, and reported satisfactory results. The great thing is, there's six of them in a package ($2.19, so a decent value), so there's plenty of it with which to experiment. I'd imagine they'd be pretty good cut and baked to munch on like a pita chip, or maybe even buttered, sugared, and cinnamoned, then cut into strips and baked for a dessert. Or maybe make some garlic breadsticks out of them in a similiar fashion ... the possibilities may be endless.

The form of the lavash is pretty pliable, too. We tend to keep bread in the fridge to extend the shelflife some. I just wolfed down the last two-week old half-sheet remnant a few minutes ago, and it was as soft, floury, and flexible as the first time we used it. I could literally bend it any which way, and it wasn't stiffened enough to crack or break. Yet, it easily rips in a straight-enough line if you ask it to. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed overall.

Sandy gives it a 4.5 overall. "Mmm ... carbs ... it's good and it works. Not much else to be said," she says. Considering that I find myself craving a lavash-crust pizza once or twice a week, I'm inclined to be in the same ballpark. Part of me wishes it had a bit more flavor, like some sesame or poppy seeds mixed in (that's pretty common in Middle Eastern countries, from where this was inspired), but its plainness lends itself better to the overall versatility to use it to make it part of something of your own creation. Sounds like a 4.5 to me as well.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons

6 comments:

  1. This would be great if it were actually available at any Trader Joe's stores. Today, I was at our Trader Joe's in Oak Park, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) with a recipe that called for Trader Joe's "Lavosh" bread (that is the way the recipe spells it), and all they had was Trader Joe's Lavash Chips. At the store, they concluded that this must be what the recipe really meant because they have never had any "Lavosh" or "Lavash" bread -- only the chips. So perhaps this was something that appeared at only a few Trader Joe's locations, and then was discontinued after a month or two.

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    1. Trader Joe's in Media, PA has this regularly. I just bought some a few weeks ago.

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  2. Trader Joe's in Santa Fe had this product in April of 2013.

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  3. I used these to make crackers. They turned out great! I put the lavash on a cookie sheet with wax paper and sprayed them lightly with olive oil spray. I sprinkled salt and seasoning on them and used a pizza cutter to slice them into little squares. I baked them for 10 minutes (or until golden) at 425 degrees. So easy and they came out nice and crunchy!

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  4. I recently started using this stuff, making two wraps per bread that I eat throughout the night at work. So this stuff is still around at the Trader Joes in West Hartford, CT

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