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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Friday, July 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Breakfast Burritos

If you look back over the last 10 or 12 posts, you might notice a trend: most of my reviews have been fairly negative. Strangely enough, the majority of Russ's posts have been quite the opposite. He's lucked out with a streak of mostly excellent products.

Despite the fact that Russ is the reviewer that actually gave a Trader Joe's product a zero, I'm slowly starting to feel like the group's Simon Cowell. And it certainly didn't help that Russ wrote up our group review of the Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chévre, and my score was by far the lowest out of the four of us. Now, I'm going to be honest: I like to complain, and I'm really good at it. I can almost always find something to complain about. Just ask my wife. (Although, she's a champion griper as well). But gradually, we're learning to be thankful in all circumstances. However, we have complaining down to such an artform, that even with things we're quite thankful for, we can still manage to find some fault to whine about. But seriously, we are grateful as well, that God has been gracious and put up with our terrible attitudes all this time.

Nevertheless, because of my duties as a foodie-hack blogger and grocery-informant, I must unfortunately continue on my sad tirade of moans and groans with this tragically tedious excuse for a breakfast burrito, and hopefully, I'll save a handful of people from being utterly disappointed with their morning meals.

Really, Trader Joe's? Really? C'mon. I'm just going to go ahead and say skip these and stick to whatever kind of breakfast burrito you can buy off the roach coach that pulls up to your office parking lot in the morning. It might not be healthy, but I can virtually guarantee it'll have more flavor. Sonia immediately proclaimed "These taste like cardboard." That says it all. They do. I'm not sure what process can prevent the natural flavors of eggs, potatoes, turkey bacon, and cheese from coming through at all, but TJ's has apparently discovered one. Honestly, to call these "bland" would be a gross understatement. I slathered my burrito with Cholula hot sauce and was able to finish it. Sonia finished hers, too, but only because she really doesn't like to waste food.

In the burrito's defense, the texture wasn't bad. It at least felt like a real breakfast burrito even if it didn't taste like one. You can certainly tell there's a tortilla with some potatoes and eggs and maybe some other stuff just by the feel of it.

Sonia said she can't give them more than half a star. Just because they didn't completely butcher the texture, I'll be kind and give them a 1.5.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10.

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18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the warning. Sounds about as tasteless as the turkey club wrap from TJ's I tried recently. Had ZERO flavor, was very dry and they used RAW turkey bacon on it!

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  2. Hi, this is so funny that this is the first review of your that I have read. I bought these on our last shopping trip to Trader Joe's. My husband brought them to work for breakfast yesterday and when he got home his comment to me was, "please don't ever buy the Trader Joe breakfast burrito's again...they were awful !!! " Note taken, wish I had read your review first.

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  3. Thanks for the tips, Nathan! I've spotted these and wondered if they were any good...guess not. Doh!

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  4. I wish I had read this before my trip to Trader Joes today!

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  5. Darn! We just moved into our new home and haven't unpacked yet so I bought the breakfast burrito for tomorrow am. Maybe by topping it with avocado, yogurt and TJ's salsa I can still salvage an edible breakfast.

    Just like a., wish I'd read this before stopping off at TJ's this evening. Look forward to reading more TJ reviews. The store is real hit and miss. The only thing certain is that when I find something I really like, it'll be disontinued.

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  6. I actually like them. I just use some Rooster sauce and I'm good to go. Yeah, not a lot of flavor but the texture is great. Rooster sauce will cure anything!

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  7. If you want to turn around your record of negative reviews, get yourself some blueberry pomegranate sherbet. Hands down, my favorite TJ's product!

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  8. make sure you heat it in the oven, not the microwave. It really does change how it tastes.

    You never heat frozen french fries in the microwave, so don't do it with frozen burritos.

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  9. @matbathome, Even in the oven they come out crispy and taste bland. I bought several of these burritos, because I was shopping while hungry, and after taking a bite I would repeatedly add more ketchup. One day, I thought that ketchup isn't a seasoning and realized how truly awful these things tasted.

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  10. i actually liked these. a little tapatio made it pretty good/cheap/quick

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  11. 15 minutes at 350??? Who wrote these directions? I pulled it out after 15 minutes & the burrito was still an ice cube! Well, it did say "or until heated thru". Eventually, it took 3 times as long to get a warm product. Tasteless is an understatement. My husband said "there was turkey bacon, eggs & cheese in there? I only taste crappy tortilla & freezer burned potatoes." I only wish he wouldn't have finished his (and only ate half like me) so I could stick them back in the package & return them as we do with all their misses!

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  12. Granted, they are a bit bland, but Tabasco cures that. I just need something fast to eat before going out on patrol. Rooster sauce sounds good, Lizcoopmann. I will give that a try.

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  13. I concur, these were pretty disgusting. Really dry, and I even got some under cooked potato chunks (gross!), I also had a hard time finding/tasting any cheese. Not their finest work.

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  14. I was wondering if it was just me or if they really were disappointing- Thawed mine in the fridge the night before and popped them in the toaster oven this AM. 15 minutes at 350 works under these circumstances. Unfortunately, though, I had no sauce. I figured "eggs, potatoes, cheese, turkey bacon, this oughta have some kind of flavor". Naaah! The texture was on, the outer tortilla got crispy, but it's like they sent the fillings through some kind of flavor-damping ray before stuffing it into the burrito.

    More turkey bacon would have helped- there wasn't enough of it for me to readily discover it. If there was even a slice's worth in each burrito the smokey/salty profile would have done wonders. If you have to look for it before you bite, then look again more closely to try and see some; there ain't enough bacon in there to even list it as a primary ingredient.

    I was much happier with the egg, onion and potato scramble which actually comes from France. Now I know what I'll get next time; a few of these and some of those German baby-brats and I can hole up in my office for a week.

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    1. UPDATE:

      I thought I'd try a crazy experiment using all TJ's products and the equipment in my office breakroom. What you'll need:

      - microwave
      - toaster oven
      - TJ's lamentable breakfast burritos
      - TJ's Bavarian Bratwurst (the little guys that actually come from Germany)
      - TJ's Enchilada Sauce

      Okay, I pre-browned the sausage in the toaster oven for about 15-20 mins at 350 after fashioning a pan out of Reynolds Wrap that I found in the drawer of the breakroom cabinet.

      I cut a slit all the way down one end of the burrito package for venting and nuked for 2 minutes. this left them soft and easy to open but not fully warmed (you'll have to judge the timing on your equipment; YMMV)

      I then removed the wrapper completely, carefully unrolled each burrito, stuffed two brats into each one and re-rolled them and replaced them in the tray - the fit is snug, but workable.

      Next, pour enchilada sauce over them and finish nuking to heat (about a minute in my case).

      What results is a flavorful, messy KFJ (knife and fork job) that tastes really good with a big cup of black coffee.

      I did notice a change in the burritos vs. the last time I had them; there was much more "bacon" in these, including a few big chunks. I examined one of the bigger chunks and it looked a lot like SPAM, but tasted blander; insufficient smokiness really lets this "bacon" down, IMHO.

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  15. Ate one, immediately decided to never buy them again, the other one sat in the freezer collecting frost until some sucker roommate of mine ate it, there isn't a world I can imagine where he would've like it. Their review is spot on, this product needs to be removed from TJ's shelves until it's remade better which is almost impossible not to do.

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  16. My husband and I like these...never met a potato I didn't like!

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