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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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trader Joe's Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf. I like this French word for beef. It reminds me of Saturday Night Live's Stefon talking about "New York's hottest club, Booooooooof...that's right Booooooooof, with nine o's."

We'll have to settle for one o, but our amis les Français have thrown in an e and a u as bonuses. And whether or not this item is Trader Joe's frozen section's hottest item remains to be seen...

I'm not even going to grumble about TJ's inconsistency with their international characters anymore. There's no reason this shouldn't be Trader Jacques' Boeuf Bourguignon (like the Ham and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches).

And before we get down to the actual food review, let me remind you that, as Russ stated in an earlier post, we're not food experts, nor have we ever claimed to be. But that's our angle. We're average "everyman" types that like to eat, and we'll give you our honest opinions. We are self-proclaimed "foodie-hack bloggers." After Yahoo's main page linked directly to The Daily Meal's article about us, I decided to promote us to "prominent foodie-hack bloggers." And as one critic who apparently critiques other critics' reviews so delicately pointed out, our blog entries are extremely self-indulgent and often contain several paragraphs that have little or nothing to do with the actual food (such as this and the three paragraphs preceding it). For that particular gentleman's highly accurate, yet mostly irrelevant observation, I amend our standing title to "prominent self-indulgent foodie-hack bloggers." If his observation is mostly irrelevant, then why include it in your title, you ask? Sheerly for the sake of comedy, my friends.

I've got at least a couple more paragraphs of non-food-related material that part of me wishes to insert here, but for the sake of the people who actually care what I think of this product, let's get started: The flavor of the delicious sauce is the highlight of this dish. I've honestly never had boeuf bourguignon before, but the sauce reminded me of a really good, really thick au jus from a French dip. The beef is tasty as well, but as usual, this entree could use a bit more of it. I was quite happy with the quality and the amount of vegetables, but Sonia didn't even think there were enough onions, etc. in the mix. She reminded me that the meal cost something in the ballpark of 6 or 7 dollars. Less than you'd pay in a gourmet restaurant, but still not cheap—certainly enough to buy us a belly-full of meat and veggies, we thought.

In my opinion, the complex, gourmet gravy makes this product worth at least one purchase. It might not be a Julia Child masterpiece, but for frozen food, it's pretty dang tasty. The price tag and the lack of meat might mean this dish doesn't make regular appearances on your shopping list, but I'd check it out if you're at all curious. I can't go lower than a 4. Sonia gives a 3.5 to the bourguignon, docking a point and a half for a decided lack of boeuf.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. The thing that I've noticed about the "international traders" (and I'm not sure if it's just pure coincidence) is that Trader Jacques' products is always "Product of France", Trader Giotti's products are always made in Italy... So perhaps this is a French dish but is made in USA? Perhaps you folks can test out my theory! :)

  2. You should test out the Kobe Beef Burger. They take forever to cook because it's a half pound of beef in each patty. But it's the best burger I've ever had.

  3. I like their Boeuf Bourguignon alot too. Yes, it's all about the sauce, and I have to agree: I'd like to see more meat and some actual veggies other than the mushrooms I think are in there. My husband and I have made Julia Child's version of this dish - it takes all day, and it's so worth it! - but this'll do in a pinch when you have a craving!

  4. Loving your blog! Our local TJ's just opened today! Would like to subscribe to your blog but not seeing RSS feed. I'm sure I must be missing it. Please direct me!

  5. Sue -- I just found this blog today and really like it. I used my own RSS aggregator, in my case that is the "Mail" program on the Mac. Under the "File" menu there is an item "Add RSS Feeds" and all l had to do was enter the URL for the WGATJ blog, and it automatically pulled down the last 25 entries and will give me a feed anytime they add a new post. If you have Windows it may or may not be that easy.

  6. I bought this once and it had gristle/fat which I find nasty so I haven't bought it again. Maybe I'll give it one more try.

  7. Looks good for a quick weeknight.

  8. I usually stand by your ratings, but for me this is a 10/10.